12. Elvis Presley
Singer and actor Elvis Presley was one of the most legendary pop culture icons of the 20th century. The iconic performer, known as the King of Rock and Roll, died of drug-related heart failure at age 42.
Despite his meteoric rise to fame, the King struggled with issues in his personal life. His marriage fell apart and he and his wife divorced; his ex-wife received custody of their daughter. He developed a dangerous addiction to prescription drugs.
Once famous for his fit and trim physique, the star began struggling with weight issues. He gained weight due, at least in part, to the effects of his prescription drug abuse.
His destructive lifestyle took a growing toll on his health. Shortly after his divorce, he was hospitalized for multiple health problems resulting from his drug addiction.
Despite his personal struggles, Presley continued to perform in Las Vegas and on tour. After what would be his final concert in 1977, he returned home to Graceland. He intended to prepare for the upcoming tour while staying at his Memphis mansion. Tragically, he died of heart failure because of his prescription drug abuse.
After his death, an investigation revealed he had been prescribed more than 8,000 pills in 1977 alone. These prescriptions included Quaalude (a sedative), Percodan (an opioid/narcotic), Demerol (a morphine-like opioid), Dilaudid (an opioid/narcotic), and cocaine hydrochloride (a strong stimulant).
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