Freeze Frame: Elvis Presley’s photo broke the world’s heart

When the King of Rock n’ Roll Elvis Presley At just 23 years old, he is in the midst of the most sublime stage of his legendary music career.

The young troubadour was hugely successful in the late 1950s and took emergency leave from his service in the United States Army after learning his mother, Gladys, was seriously ill.

Elvis is devoted to his parents Vernon and Gladys, who modestly raised their son in Memphis before he became a global phenomenon.

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Elvis Presley
Elvis and his father Vernon sat on the steps of Graceland hope in front of the press after Gladys’ death. (Bettmann Archive)

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As their only child after twins, Elvis was truly the apple of his mother’s eyes.

The mother and daughter were so close that Elvis even slept in the same bed with her until she was a teenager. “She was the number one girl in his life, and he dedicated his career to her,” said a reporter for the newspaper. Memphis Press Scimitar used to write.

During long periods of touring or recording music, Elvis’s mother “ignored” her health. Reports at the time said she started drinking heavily and was diagnosed with serious liver problems.

However, Elvis biographer Sally Hoedel, who wrote Elvis: Fate Dies Youngsaid Gladys had underlying health problems that contributed to her early death.

Hoedel writes: “Gladys has always been portrayed as this woman whose son became famous, bought her a big house and she just struggled to settle it all and basically died of one broken heart.

The legendary singer is close to his mother. (Bettmann Archive)

“But that’s not how it works. I think Elvis and Vernon [Elvis’ father] both knew how sick she was before he left for the army.”

Gladys’ ill health meant that the singer was allowed to return home during an emergency from the military on August 12, 1958 for a visit.

Just two days later, Gladys died at the age of 46 at a Memphis hospital from a reported heart attack. Elvis was described as “sobbing and sobbing” for hours and days after the death of his dear mother.

She is the number one girl in his life, and he has devoted his career to her

On the day Gladys died, Elvis and his father Vernon spoke to the press waiting on the steps of their now famous Graceland home.

An iconic photo of a grieving Elvis was taken as he sat next to his grieving father.

Few can forget the broken gaze of the music legend as he grapples with the loss of his number one fan and supporter. The photo, 64 years on, is still remembered as one of Elvis’s most difficult personal moments.

This moment also became a memorable immortality in film in Baz Luhrmann’s 2022 film Elvis.

Elvis Presley
Elvis took an emergency leave from the military to visit his ailing mother. (Getty)

Elvis’ public display of grief is bittersweet for prison stone hit maker. Black and white photos of Elvis and Vernon were published in newspapers around the country.

The coverage softened the harsh criticism of Elvis and his “controversial” dance moves and music in the press.

The AP reported that Elvis was in a “near hysterical” state at his mother’s funeral on August 16.

The publication also shared Elvis’ words of “grief” at his mother’s grave. “Goodbye, honey. I love you,” he said. “Oh my God, everything I had is gone. I lived my life for you. I love you so much.”

After Gladys’ death, Evening News said the King of Rock and Roll always put his parents first after he became famous like a storm.

Elvis Presley
Elvis died prematurely at the age of 42, exactly 19 years after his mother died. (wire picture)

“Unlike so many sons, when fortune smiled, Elvis Presley thought of his parents’ welfare first. He provided generously for them,” the report reads.

“It’s nice to know that he met his mother just hours before her death, after returning home on an emergency leave from the armed forces.”

It is said that Elvis never really got over his mother’s premature death – not even until the day he died exactly 19 years later, at the age of 42.

“My heart is broken,” Elvis said before his death in 1977. “She was always my best girl.”

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