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Nine key figures that define Elvis Presley's life

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By Emma Beswick
Nine key figures that define Elvis Presley's life

The king of rock and roll, or simply “the king” to his fans, died suddenly on August 16, 1977, from heart failure after battling weight gain and a dependency on prescription drugs.

40 years since his death, here are some key figures that illustrate the magnitude of his career and legacy.


On August 19, 1977, Elvis’ body was transferred from Graceland to a cemetery in Forest Hills, escorted by a hearse of 15 white Cadillacs.


The age at which he released his first single on July 5, 1954. It was called “That’s All Right” and was originally written by Blues singer Arthur Crudup.


Forbes magazine last year ranked the star as the fourth-highest-earning deceased celebrity for the revenue his empire continues to generate.


Elvis appeared in his first film, the western “Love Me Tender”, in 1956, aged 21. It was an immediate success.

90 and 53

Elvis’ music has earned scores of special discs to recognise its sales success. He has netted 90 gold and 53 platinum discs. (An artist must sell 500,000 units for a gold and one million for a platinum, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.)


Elvis performed over 1,150 concerts in the United States alone. The last one took place on June 25, 1977, in Indianapolis, just one month and 22 days before his death.


The estimated number of people who turned up to pay their respects to Elvis’ open casket on August 18, 1977, where his body was on display wearing a cream suit and silver tie.


Approximately the size of the crowd that gathers each year at the king’s grave where he rests with his parents. It is the most visited place in the United States after the White House.

20 million

The number of people who have visited Elvis’ Graceland property in Memphis, Tennessee, since it opened to the general public (1982).