In recent years, The Times has been out front in its coverage of the deaths of iconic performers, including Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston. But perhaps no artist's death was as big a story as the death 35 years ago of Elvis Presley of a heart attack at Graceland, his mansion in Memphis, Tenn.
"Elvis Presley didn't invent rock n' roll, but he was its most important figure and primary symbol," then-Times' critic Bob Hilburn wrote in an appreciation. "His music was wild, defiant, challenging, adventurous. His long hair, sideburns, loud clothes and uncompromising manner offered a symbol for teen-agers desiring to state their own identity."
Ted Thackeray'sbegins with a strikingly detailed account of Presley's medical issues, and the minute-by-minute account of his heart failure. "(Medical examiner Jerry) Francisco told newsmen after an autopsy that Presley had died of 'cardiac arrythmia,' which he described as a severely irregular heartbeat.... He said Presley had a history of mild hypertension and some coronary artery disease, both of which might have contributed to the arrythmia."
The obit notes that Presley was found "fully clothed but unconscious, in a bathroom of his Graceland mansion by his road manager, Joe Esposito."