During the last year of his life, Elvis Presley set off on his final vacation to Hawaii in March 1977. There, The King and his Memphis Mafia stayed at the Hilton Rainbow Tower, before moving to a beach house with his girlfriend Ginger and her two sisters. Part of the inner circle staying with him was the star’s cousin Billy Smith and his wife Jo who have recently shared how the star accidentally injured his relative’s knee.
Speaking on their YouTube Channel, Elvis Fans Matter, Jo recalled: “We were out in the yard and they were passing the football one day, some of the guys and Elvis and Billy. Billy was going back to catch a pass and Elvis thought it would be funny if he got down on his hands and knees…thought it would be funny if he fell over him, which it would have been had he not injured his knee when he fell. He fell over Elvis and Elvis was dying laughing until he realised Billy couldn’t get up and it was like a total change.”
Elvis’ last vacation before death: ‘King dying laughing before accident made him nervous’ (Image: GETTY)
Elvis and his Memphis Mafia – Billy Smith is on the far left (Image: GETTY)
A concerned Elvis comforted Billy saying: “Come on little fella, come on little fella, you’re okay.”
Jo continued: “That [prank] was hilarious, but Billy was in a lot of pain. It was an old injury that he’d already had but, he hurt it again and Dr Nick [The King’s personal physician] had to go and get crutches and drain [his] knee at the beach house. Elvis was so nervous he couldn’t really stand it.”
Billy remembered: “Right after he injured it n’ all, he helped me into the house [saying], ‘Hey, let me get you this and let me get you that.’ He went and made me a hot dog! I kept saying, ‘Elvis, Elvis I’m alright! This knee’s been bad for a long time.’”
This wasn’t the only incident, with the trip being cut short and a visit to the USS Arizona memorial – which the singer had raised money towards years earlier – being cancelled after he hurt his eye.
The King had got sand in his eye and Dr Nick was concerned he had scratched his cornea.
As a result, it was suggested that the star go home to Graceland to rest up before heading back off on what would be his final tour dates.
Despite the injuries, Jo said of the trip: “We had a lot of fun, a very memorable vacation.”