Was Elvis Presley destined to die early? DNA tests show King was prone to obesity and disease
The singer, who died at the age of 42, is known to have had an irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and bad eyesight
Tuesday 25 March 2014
Elvis Presley may have died because of genetic conditions that made him prone to obesity and heart disease - rather than his lifestyle, according to a new documentary.
The Channel 4 programme Dead Famous DNA analysed samples of hair said to have belonged to the singing legend and found genes linked to several medical conditions.
Apart from obesity and heart disease, they also found genes associated with migraines and glaucoma.
Presley, who died at the age of 42, is known to have had an irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and bad eyesight.
He is also known to have had headaches and suffered from fatigue and fainting and in later life his weight soared.
His fondness for junk food was blamed by many for his early death.
Dr Stephen Kingsmore, director of the Centre for Paediatric Genomic Medicine at the Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, analysed the hair sample for the programme and said the findings indicated this might not be the full story.
“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,” he said.
The star was found dead in 1977, slumped in a bathroom at Graceland, his mansion in Memphis, Tennessee.
Presenter Mark Evans said this might have been his “genetic destiny”.
“For years, Elvis has been blamed for his own death, for overeating or overdosing on drugs,” he said.
“Both of these addictions wouldn't have helped. But it seemed Elvis had a flaw in his DNA.”
Mr Evans said that they were “very, very confident” that the sample of hair had come from the singer, after spending three years doing their research.
“I'm massively confident that is Elvis' DNA but I can't prove it,” he said. “I can't tell you 100% that is Elvis' DNA. That's not possible.”
Producers wrote to Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley, but said that they have not heard back.
The programme, to be broadcast at 9pm on Wednesday, 26 March, also attempts to analyse the DNA of people such as Adolf Hitler, Charles Darwin, John F Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Napoleon, Marlon Brando and King George III.
The show 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.
Channel 4 said that Irving sold them the hair sample in good faith but their view of the science “strongly suggests” that it was not Hitler's.
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Watch a man race the Circle line and win
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Grandmas keep accidentally tagging themselves as Grandmaster Flash on Facebook
Islamic State: Pope is 'being targeted by Isis', Iraqi ambassador to the Holy See warns
Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton nude pictures exhibition cancelled after artist concedes photos were 'stolen property'
Scotland independence: A nation divided against itself: Brown says SNP are liars. Darling joins in. Salmond fights back
John Travolta addresses former pilot's gay romance allegations publicly for the first time: 'That was the lowest I'd ever felt'
Richard III: Two years after his body was found scientists discover how he died
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...
£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...