Elvis death: King was ‘moaning’ as head dunked in bucket of water ‘Just get him on stage’

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Larry Geller was with Elvis from April 30, 1964, right through until his final months in 1977. He is famously known as the star’s hairdresser and spiritual adviser. The two don’t usually go together as typical career paths but everyone in Elvis’ entourage seemed to wear various hats at different times. Geller was the person who introduced the Rock n Roll legend to spirituality and even gave him the book he was reading when he died. Geller described upsetting nights on tour with the doctors during those final months, when he realised his friend desperately wanted to save himself but might never escape his fate.

Geller said he was “shocked, but not surprised” when he was told his friend had died on August 16, 1977.

The star was about to resume a major and gruelling US tour later that same day. The shows over the previous months had taken a terrible toll on the ailing singer as his health continued to fail.

During the previous leg of the tour, Geller described the distressing way Elvis was treated in order to get him on stage. It is not pleasant to read. Geller also believes Elvis would still be alive if he had been allowed to make the changes he wanted.

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Geller said: “About six months before Elvis died, we were on tour in Louisville, Kentucky. It was late afternoon and Elvis was in the bedroom with his doctor.

“Suddenly, there was a pounding on the front door. His manager, Colonel Parker, came in. He went into the bedroom.

“I saw that Elvis was semiconscious and Elvis’ doctor was dunking his head into a bucket of ice water. Elvis was moaning.”

Geller actually thought for a moment that a crisis point had come which would force those around the star to realise he needed help. He was wrong.

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Geller added: “I thought to myself, OK, this is good because The Colonel finally saw the reality. Elvis should be in a hospital; he should not be on tour.’

“About a minute and a half later, Colonel Parker came out and walked up to me and stared coldly into my eyes and said, ‘The only thing that’s important now is that man is on the stage tonight.’ And he walked out. And my heart dropped.”

Even more upsetting was the tragic conversation Elvis had with his friend after Parker left.

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Geller said: “The doctor left and Elvis called me. We had a conversation and Elvis said, ‘Larry, my life’s on the line and I know it. I’ve been hiding from the truth for too long. There are too many people around me that I’ve outgrown.’

“He said we would go to Hawaii for at least a year and he was going to get off the pills, read, meditate and get healthy. He wanted a new life.”

Elvis’ final girlfriend Ginger Alden had also described how the star had been making plans to turn his life and health around in those final months with a long break on the islands he regarded as a sanctuary.

Geller added: “What’s sad is that the greatest phenomenon in history ended as a tragedy. But it’s not a tragedy because Elvis took pills and had an unhealthy lifestyle—who doesn’t have addictions of one form or another?

“The tragedy is Elvis knew that he had to make dramatic, drastic changes. So the tragedy is that he didn’t do it when he had that satori (Japanese for enlightenment).

“When he had that flash, he should have fired everyone and gotten on the plane and flown to Oahu. If he did, he would be alive today.”

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