The tragic story of Elvis Presley’s twin brother

Since the beginning of his legendary career in the 1950s, Elvis Presley’s name has become almost synonymous with music. Widely considered the “King of Rock and Roll,” Presley’s career sparked a massive shift in culture and music among young people in America and around the world.

Presley’s music career has been impressive, having won three Grammy Awards from 14 nominations over the course of his years, although he was also an acclaimed film actor himself, having also starred in a number of hit Hollywood films. His untimely death in 1977 from heart failure at the young age of 42 naturally caused shock and sadness to his millions of fans and arguably marked the end of an era in music. It’s no surprise, then, that more than four decades later, a docudrama about his life raked in critical acclaim and millions of dollars at the box office.

However, what many Presley fans may not know is that the famous singer did in fact briefly have a twin brother in his life. However, his twin’s life began and ended in tragedy.

Elvis Presley’s twin brother died in childbirth

Elvis Presley, born in 1935, grew up as an only child in Tupelo, Mississippi. However, according to History, Elvis was actually a twin when he was born on January 8th. His mother, Gladys Love Presley, gave birth to their first child, Jesse Garon, about 35 minutes before Elvis, but he was stillborn. Jesse was buried the following day in an unmarked grave in Priceville, Mississippi Cemetery.

Many psychologists and biographers agree that Elvis was deeply affected by his brother’s death. Psychologist Peter Whitmer wrote in his 1996 book “Inner Elvis” that for the singer, Jesse’s death was “a tragedy that set in motion a process that made his dead sibling the cornerstone,” per Rock and Roll Garage. Jesse was “the single driving force in his life,” Whitmer added, and a “restless spirit that eventually haunted all of Presley’s relationships.”

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Of course, being an only child at birth, Presley created a close bond with his parents. According to The Wrap, Gladys believed her only surviving child had inherited Jesse’s soul and was, of course, very special; The fact that she tried to have more children in the years that followed, only to suffer a miscarriage, strengthened the bond she had with her only child. According to Elvis.com, his father Vernon’s feelings were similar on the matter. “All I can say is that God spoke to my heart and told me that Elvis is the only child we will ever have and the only child we will ever need,” he said.

Elvis Presley suffered the death of his mother

The loss of Elvis Presley’s twin brother was not the only member of his immediate family to die during his lifetime, nor the only one that seriously affected him. For Elvis, 1958 was the year everything changed.

In August 1958, when the singer was 23, his mother, Gladys, was diagnosed with hepatitis. According to Express, the two were incredibly close and continued to use baby talk and pet names well into Elvis’ adulthood. This was likely due in large part to the close bond they formed after Jesse’s death.

When Gladys’ illness escalated quickly and eventually claimed her life on August 12th, Elvis was of course devastated. “It broke my heart,” he said, per Smooth Radio. “She was always my best girl.” According to The Sun, he actually collapsed on the coffin at the funeral, shouting: “Please don’t take my baby away! She’s not dead. She’s just sleeping.” Those close to the singer have said he was never the same after her death. Shortly thereafter, he met his future wife, Priscilla Beaulieu. However, their relationship would not last and Elvis’ health would deteriorate to such an extent that it led to his addiction to prescription drugs, obesity and subsequent death in 1977. In the end it is clear that the tragedy that triggered the life of Elvis would unfortunately play a large role until his tragic end.

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