What killed Elvis? It’s a question at Michael Jackson’s death trial

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by Alan Duke

LOS ANGELES (CNN) — Elvis Presley’s death became a controversy at the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial as a man who promoted both artists’ last tours testified.

AEG Live Co-CEO Paul Gongaware testified May 29 that Presley died of a drug overdose, but when his own lawyer questioned him May 30, he changed his testimony to say Elvis died of a heart ailment.

Presley collapsed in the bathroom of his Memphis, Tennessee, mansion — Graceland — on August 16, 1977, at the age of 42. While his death was ruled the result of an irregular heartbeat, the autopsy report was sealed amid accusations that abuse of prescription drugs caused the problem.

How Presley died is relevant because Jackson lawyers argue Gongaware’s experience as Elvis’s promoter should have made him more aware of drug abuse by artists, including Michael Jackson.

He was in charge of producing Jackson’s “This Is It” concert when Jackson died on June 25, 2009, at the age of 50. The coroner ruled his death was caused by a fatal combination of sedatives and the surgical anesthetic propofol.

Dr. Conrad Murray told investigators he gave Jackson nightly infusions of propofol to treat his insomnia. He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, sentenced to four years in prison.

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