Is Inbreeding Responsible for Heart Attacks in Elvis’ Family? His grandparents were cousins
The death of Elvis Presley’s daughter from cardiac arrest at the age of 54 may have supported recent research suggesting that genetic defects caused by inbreeding were responsible for a number of early deaths in his family.
Lisa Marie Presley, who suffered fatal cardiac arrest on Thursday, was far from the first member of Elvis to die of heart problems. The king himself died of cardiac arrest when he was just 42, and his mother, Gladys, died of heart failure when he was 46. Gladys had three brothers, each of whom also died in their forties from heart failure or pulmonary complications.
In the recently released biography, Elvis: Destined to Die Young, author Sally Hoedel argues that the deaths of Elvis, his mother, and his uncles were likely caused by a genetic defect caused by the incestuous marriage of Elvis’ maternal grandparents who married despite being first cousins.
Her early death was all a predictable conclusion, Hoedel argued, saying in an interview last summer, “It ceases to be a coincidence when it comes to Elvis.” The death of Elvis’ only child under undeniably similar circumstances seems to say the same thing.
Elvis Presley’s maternal grandparents, Bob and Doll Mansell. They were first cousins
Lisa Marie Presley as a toddler with her father Elvis. Both died under similar circumstances
Hoedel suspected that the deaths in Elvis’ family were caused by alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, a genetic disorder that damages the lungs and liver and leads to other health complications.
“We know Elvis had it because after his death he turned out to be a carrier of Alpha-1, so it had to come from somewhere,” she told the US Sun.
That was Elvis’ maternal bloodline somewhere, and likely traces back to his grandmother, Doll Mansell, who suffered from tuberculosis for decades. However, Hoedel argued that this was a misdiagnosis and that Mansell really did suffer from a genetic defect.
“Something that doesn’t make sense but was passed down the family tree and then also recorded in the history of Elvis,” she said, “this book explains why tuberculosis was definitely a misdiagnosis in the early 20th century.
A two-year-old Elvis Presley with his parents Gladys and Vernon in 1937
Elvis Presley with his parents Vernon and Gladys. Elvis and his mother had similar deaths
A young Elvis Presley in the 1940s. He died of cardiac arrest at his home in 1977
When Mansell married her first cousin – a common practice in older times – and had children, this inbreeding could compound any genetic problems she already carried and pass them on to her children.
“From there, in first cousin marriage, we can see that Gladys most likely inherited two damaged genes and a more serious version of the disease,” Hoedel said.
Not only did three of Mansell’s sons die young of heart, lung, and liver disease, so did Gladys, who was 19 almost to the day her son died at Graceland under remarkably similar circumstances.
Gladys’ health deteriorated suddenly and rapidly in her 40s. Like her son later, she developed a drug problem and died an alcoholic on August 14, 1958, days before her son was due to begin his military service in Germany.
“Gladys was always portrayed as this woman whose son became famous, bought her a big house, and she was struggling to cope with it all, and essentially died of a broken heart,” Hoedel said, “but that’s how it works.” it not. I think Elvis and Vernon [Elvis’s father] both knew how ill she was before he joined the army.’
Elvis Presley with his parents before he was sent to Germany for military service
Elvis with his parents just before he joined the army. Gladys died the day before it was shipped
Elvis also suffered from drug abuse and heavy weight gain until his death in 1977.
He was known to become addicted to numerous prescription drugs during the 1970s while trying to cope with the demands of a decade of famously grueling touring.
But in her book, Hoedel argued that Elvis’ downfall was not caused by overindulgence or reckless drug use, but rather that he was over-medicated to ease a worsening ailment he had already developed and which was aggravated by his touring demands were.
“Elvis had various health issues, but he hid them so well that we now remember the over-medication,” Hoedel said. ‘He often took too much, and there’s a problem with that, but you have to be wondering why he took those pills in the first place.’
Lisa Maries Presley holds her hand at her father’s funeral in Memphis in 1977
Lisa Marie Presley with her four of her children in 2019. She died Thursday of cardiac arrest
Lisa Marie Presley died of cardiac arrest after struggling with drug problems in recent years
Forty-six years after Elvis’ death, Lisa Marie also died of cardiac arrest after a period of substance abuse.
“The Presleys have been incredibly secretive about their health,” Hoedel said, “but I did manage to interview people like Nancy Clarke, the daughter of Gladys’ cardiologist, who used to do house calls with her father at the Presley home. “
“And she told me, before her father died, he said there was more to Gladys’ death than he understood because he was quoted at length as saying he said it looked like hepatitis but it wasn’t, and he couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her.’
“It all leads back to Gladys’ parents.”
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