Elvis Presley's former private nurse has opened up about how miserable the King was before he died at age 42 from a heart attack believed to be caused by his addiction to prescription barbiturates. Letetia Henley Kirk told Closer Weekly that she worked as Elvis' private nurse at Graceland for five years before his death in 1977, and during that time, she saw how the sadness engulfed him.
Kirk traced it all back to when Elvis and Priscilla Presley divorced. He grew lonely after the split and tried to find comfort in maintaining a friendship with his former wife.
"He was very family-oriented. [He and Priscilla] continued to be very close via the telephone," Kirk explained. "He wanted a companion, but it was difficult for someone of his stature."
Shortly after the split, Elvis became involved with Linda Thompson, and for a while, they were happy, but by that time, the rock 'n' roll icon was at the height of his addiction.
According to Closer Weekly, Thompson left Elvis a year before his death. She said it was "exhausting … watching him slowly self-destruct."
Kirk said she and Elvis spent a lot of time together, chatting and reading the Bible, but nothing could distract him from the loneliness.
"He was a very spiritual person. The world thinks he has everything, and yet the happiness isn’t there. He was miserable because he’d gained so much weight. He knew he was not going to be able to perform like he wanted to," she said.
"We shared many hours together," Kirk continued. "I saw the sadness and the happiness. I saw vulnerability. I was very fortunate [to have known him]. I wish there was something I could have done to make him a happier person. He was not only my patient but a good friend."
Kirk added that Elvis could have survived that fateful day of Aug. 16 if someone had gotten to him sooner.
"Had he had immediate medical attention, there’s a big possibility [he might have lived]. But who knows?" she said. "I just want the world to know what a great, intelligent, kind, spiritual individual he was. He was a very special person."
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