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Joe Esposito, Elvis Presley’s Longtime Assistant, Dead at 78

Elvis Hit Making Team "The End" CD Launch And George Barris Book Signing
Dr. Billy Ingram, WireImage / Getty Images

Joe Esposito, a close friend, assistant to and road manager of icon Elvis Presley for almost two decades, died on Wednesday (Nov. 23). He was 78.

According to the New York Times, Esposito passed away at his home in Calabasas, Calif. His daughter, Cindy Bahr, said that he death was due to complications of dementia.

Joseph Carmine Esposito was born in Chicago on Jan. 22, 1938. After high school, he was drafted in the Army, attended basic training in Texas and began working at a base in Friedberg, Germany. He and Presley met in 1959, and after they left the Army, Presley asked Esposito to work for him.

Esposito’s roles as an employee of Presley included concierge/assistant, road manager, right-hand man and, most of all, friend. He also had small roles in several films featuring Presley, including It Happened at the World’s Fair and The Trouble With Girls, and in 1967, he was best man at Presley’s wedding to Priscilla Ann Beaulieu. Esposito, along with several others, was considered part of the “Memphis Mafia,” a group of devoted friends and employees of Presley.

It was Esposito who found Presley’s dead body in a Graceland bathroom in 1977, and he was one of the pallbearers at the legend’s funeral. After Presley’s death, Esposito wrote several books about the singer, including Good Rockin’ Tonight: 20 Years on the Road and on the Town With Elvis, in 1994; he also consulted on numerous Presley documentaries and was an advocate for keeping the singer’s name alive. After his time with Presley, Esposito went on to work for producer Jerry Weintraub, Michael Jackson, the Bee Gees and others.

Esposito was married twice: His first marriage ended in divorce, and his second wife passed away in 2012. He is survived by his children Cindy, Debbie and Anthony, brother Frank, sister Phyllis and three grandchildren.

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