Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977. He was just 42 years old. The cause of death is generally accepted to be a heart attack, with the star’s unhealthy lifestyle and heavy prescription drug use cited as contributory reasons. Yet seven years earlier, he had told his girlfriend Kathy Westmoreland that he had bone cancer and she says the star’s doctors verified this to her.
Kathy started touring with the star in 1970. He introduced her to the crowd in concerts as “the little girl with the beautiful high voice” and nicknamed her Minnie Mouse.
They dated for a while but remained close after it ended and Elvis continued to ask her to share his bed as friends for comfort.
Kathy explained: “I dated him for about six months on a regular basis… it was fun. He was very thoughtful. Almost motherly… Then it became obvious to me that there were other women.”
Like many others, she described how Elvis hated to be alone at night. On tour he would call her up to his room just to keep him company: “He suffered from insomnia. I think a lot of geniuses are like that, ‘I just can’t turn it off,’ is what he would say.”
During late night confessional conversations in 1977, Kathy says Elvis revealed his biggest fears about his career as well as his conviction that he would die young, like many in his family.
Kathy said: “During one of the final conversations I had with Elvis, he asked me out of the blue, ‘How are people going to remember me?’
“He was worried that they weren’t going to remember him much at all. He said, ‘I haven’t done anything classic.’”
Kathy also disputes the official line on how and why Elvis died “because of what he told me and what doctors who saw him while I was with him told me.”
Kathy said: “When I first met him, he told me that he knew exactly how much time he had, that he thought he was going to die at the age of 42, close to the age of his mother.
“It was in her family, her father, grandfather, her whole family… they were born with a heart that was twice the size on one side as it was on the other, and he also told me that he had bone cancer.”
Kathy described the drug regime he was on: “I was in Elvis’ bedroom and there was very little drug abuse.”
WATCH ELVIS IN CONCERT BELOW IN 1977 (KATHY WESTMORELAND FROM 2.46)
The rumours Elvis was battling cancer have circulated for many years. In a group interview which included Kathy and Marty Lacker, one of the star’s closest friends and personal aide, Lacker argued it was a rumour started by Elvis’ father Vernon.
Kathy replied: “He told me (he had cancer) when I first met him.”
To which Lacker simply said: “Elvis had a good imagination, Kathy.”