One of Elvis Presley's close friends has opened up about the king of rock and roll’s life and the last time his saw the star and how it brought tears to his eyes.
It was 1977, just 60 days before Presley died from a heart attack that many believe was induced by his addiction to prescription barbiturates. Former Shelby County Mayor and Sheriff Bill Morris had arranged to see a movie with Presley but when he laid eyes on his childhood friend, he was shocked.
"I couldn’t believe it when I saw him walk back to see us. He had gotten so huge. Put on so much weight," 86-year-old Morris told Fox News. "And my wife [Ann] always bugged him, sort of like mothering him all the time, because they’ve known each other for so many years. And she hugged him. We all hugged each other. And everybody had tears in their eyes because he looked so bad and felt so bad."
Morris recalled how his wife scolded Presley for the state he was in and he promised her he was "gonna be better." The next time Morris saw his friend again he was lying dead in a casket.
"I just couldn’t accept the totality of it all," Morris, who knew Elvis since high school, told Fox News. "He was in this casket, but I couldn’t believe he was dead. He was just 42 years old. I didn’t really want to accept it even then."
Looking back, Morris said their friendship was inevitable. The two men shared a connection that ran all the way back to birth, with their parents who knew each other during the post-Depression years in north Mississippi. However, the two would only come to meet years later, at the high school graduation of Morris' now wife.
They developed an unlikely friendship that lasted over the years and they never lost touch, even when Presley obtained worldwide fame.
"He was just a normal guy doing normal things. That always impressed me." Morris said.
The former sheriff recently published a book documenting the personalities he has encountered during his life in Tennessee, including Presley. "Bill Morris: A Legendary Life" seeks to dispel the misconceptions surrounding Presley, including his dependency on prescription drugs.
"I think a lot of people thought he was on bad drugs, street drugs," Morris said. "He never was. He did take a lot of drugs, prescription drugs, that would undoubtedly harm him, but he never messed with things like marijuana, opium — none of those kinds of drugs you would buy on the street."
Morris said Presley was always humble and never let fame go to his head.
"We could bring 20, 40 people down to have a little party at his house and he was just one of the guys," he said. "He never grew beyond a good personal relationship with the people he grew up with. I thought that was a magnificent attribute."
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