DNA used to make bold Elvis death claim

A TV show claims it has used Elvis Presley's hair to examine the cause of the star's death.
A TV show claims it has used Elvis Presley's hair to examine the cause of the star's death.

A British TV show that attempts to sequence the DNA of historical figures from Adolf Hitler to Marilyn Monroe claims to have discovered what could have caused Elvis Presley's early death.

The controversial show, Dead Famous DNA, had already hit the headlines after it emerged that TV bosses paid Holocaust denier David Irving thousands of pounds for a lock of what was supposed to be Hitler's hair.

DNA analysis on a hair sample thought to have come from the king of rock'n'roll, which was bought from a friend of the singer's barber, has revealed that the singer could have suffered from a heart muscle disease.

The DNA results - analysed by Dr Stephen Kingsmore in Kansas - showed mutations, known as "variants", which cause migraines, glaucoma and obesity.

Presley, a junk-food addict who relied heavily on prescription drugs, was known to have suffered from headaches and bad eyesight and ballooned in weight towards the end of his life.

Scientists also found a "crucial" variant known to cause hypertrophic cardiomyopathy - a heart muscle disease that causes the thickening of the heart and weakening of the heart muscle.

Presley displayed many of the symptoms of this disease, including an irregular heartbeat, fatigue, fainting and high blood pressure.

The star was found dead in 1977 at 42 slumped in a bathroom at Graceland, his mansion in Memphis, Tennessee.

Producers said although it was officially known that Presley died of heart failure, the cause of his heart failure was still subject to speculation and had fuelled a "melting pot" of conspiracy theories.

Kingsmore, director of the Centre for Paediatric Genomic Medicine at the Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, described the results as "a smoking gun".

"There had been so much speculation about cause of death, and so much ill spoken of his lifestyle, and we had this intriguing finding that possibly Elvis had a medical illness, and all of the stuff about how he killed himself with his lifestyle might have been very unfair," Kingsmore said.

- PAA

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a4 at 25 Jul 2014 20:15:18 Processing Time: 563ms