Famous Musicians Who Died In Their 40s

The “King of Rock and Roll” himself, Elvis Presley, is one of the most beloved and famous music acts in history — so much so that he’s got a biopic in theaters at the moment. Born Elvis Aaron Presley in Tupelo, Mississippi, in 1935 (via Britannica), the music legend shot to fame in the mid-1950s with his distinct sound and risqué stage performance. According to Biography, Elvis scored his first number one hit in 1955 with “Heartbreak Hotel” and went on to release iconic songs like “Hound Dog” and “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You.” He also dabbled in film, starring in movies like 1956’s “Love Me Tender” (via IMDb). 

Alas, not everything was smooth sailing for The King in his kingdom. Per Britannica, the changing music scene of the late 1960s — a time when bands like Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Who were defining a fresh, new rock n’ roll sound — wasn’t exactly beneficial to Presley, known for playing blues and ballads. He made a small comeback in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but his status wasn’t near what it was in the 1950s.

Presley was also dealing with personal issues outside of music. According to Biography, Elvis and his wife, Priscilla, split in 1973; he also had an addiction to prescription drugs and was putting on weight around this same time. As History reports, Elvis’ overall health was on the decline leading up to August 16, 1977 — the day he died at Graceland of a heart attack. He was 42 years old.