During an annual event to celebrate the life of Elvis Presley this past week, The King‘s former girlfriend Linda Thompson opened up about the devastating phone call she received to let her know of his death.
Thompson attended this year’s Elvis Festival, which takes place in Tupelo, Mississippi where he was born. The former beauty queen who dated Presley from July 1972 to late 1976 joined the legendary singer’s cousin Billy Smith at the event. That’s where she revealed details of a phone call she received from Presley’s young daughter Lisa Marie.
Although the couple broke up the December before Elvis Presley passed, Thompson stayed close to his nine-year-old daughter. That’s why not long after his August 16, 1977 passing, she received a heartbreaking call from Lisa Marie.
“I said, ‘hello’ and she said, ‘Linda.’ I said, ‘hey’, she said, ‘It’s Lisa.’ I said, ‘I know who this is, you little goobernickel.’ It was a pet name Elvis and I had for her,” Thompson explained, according to a Express.co.uk report. “She said, ‘My Daddy’s dead, my Daddy’s dead.'”
“I can’t even tell you what I felt, I was stunned and paralyzed. I said, ‘What? No, he’s not,'” Thompson continued. “She said, ‘Yes he is, yes he is. He’s dead.’ The only thing that brought it to reality was when she said, ‘He’s smothered in the carpet.’ And when she said that, I just threw the phone because I thought, ‘Ok, he’s gone. That’s it. Nobody checked on him.'”
Linda Thompson’s worst fears had come true. After the couple split, she worried that no one would look after Elvis properly. Presley ended up in his Graceland bathroom alone for hours that fateful day. His girlfriend Ginger slept quietly in the next room while his entourage, the Memphis Mafia, stayed downstairs.
Linda Thompson Calls Elvis Presley the Love of Her Life
While Linda Thompson shared details of that tragic day, she also had plenty of great memories to share about her ex-boyfriend Elvis Presley. Although she got married twice in the years following The King’s death, she still referred to him as “the love of my life. I adored him.”
“I think first of all he would be proud of me and how I have tried to conduct my life in a way that has always respected him and his memory. That’s first and foremost to me. I’m a fan as much as anybody else is a fan of Elvis Presley,” Thompson shared at the festival.
While attending the annual Tupelo event, Thompson shared intimate stories of their time together. She told local news station WCBI that the couple once visited his birthplace together.
“He talked about Tupelo a lot. He told me about his little, shotgun house, and the church where he went with his family. I’m thrilled to be here, to see the house where he was born,” Thompson said to WCBI.
Thompson also acted as one of the judges for the annual Elvis Tribute Artist (ETA) competition this year. She said Presley loved his impersonators even while alive and would appreciate their continued support to this day.
“He’d be staggered by how incredibly generous everybody has been to his memory,” Thompson shared. “He loved the ETAs even when he was alive. He would see people growing sideburns or dressing like him and he would say, ‘Honey, look at that guy over there, I wonder if he thinks he is me?'”