Elvis Presley's physician dies at 88

Elvis Presley's physician dies at 88
Dr. George Nichopoulos (Source: The King And Dr. Nick)
Dr. George Nichopoulos (Source: The King And Dr. Nick)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The man who took care of the King of Rock 'n' Roll died Wednesday.

Dr. George Nichopoulos, Elvis Presley's physician, died at 88 years old.

Nichopoulos began treating Presley in 1967 for saddle pain, then started working exclusively for Presley between 1970 until Presley's death in 1977. Nichopoulos was present the day Elvis died.

"Dr. Nick, I loved him," Elvis' nurse, Marian Cocke, said. "He was a fine man and I think he did the best he could. I really do. And I'll go to my grave saying that."

Cocke met Dr. Nichopoulos while she was a nurse at Baptist Memorial Hospital. He was the unit supervisor at the time and sent his patients to her floor. One of those patients was Elvis Presley.

"I told the guard at the desk, 'don't ever let anybody in the room unless you check with me first,'" Cocke said.

Elvis liked her so much, he asked Cocke to become his personal nurse at Graceland, which she did for the last two years of his life.

Nichopoulos was often criticized because of Presley's fatal abuse of prescription drugs. He was indicted on multiple counts of over-prescribing drugs to Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and several other patients in 1980. However, he was acquitted on all counts.

Cocke had to testify before a grand jury in 1980, and she said Dr. Nick got a bad rap.

"Dr. Nick did the very best he could for Elvis," she said. "There were many other doctors, but out of town doctors."

Nichopoulos' medical license was revoked in 1995, and he became a road manager for Jerry Lee Lewis for a short period of time.

Cocke, who will soon turn 90, said the scandal could have done in a lesser man.

"It could have destroyed him totally, but I will say this for him: he kept his head up and pretty much his mouth shut."

Memorial Park Funeral Home confirmed that they are handling his funeral. His visitation and funeral service will take place the morning of February 27. You can read his obituary here.

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