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One of Elvis Presley’s close confidantes has passed away.

Robert Gene “Red” West, who was part of Elvis’ entourage that made up the “Memphis Mafia” and later made a name for himself as an actor, died July 18. He was 81.

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According to USA Today, the Tennessee native spent his final moments at Baptist Hospital in Memphis after suffering from an aortic aneurysm.

Red West’s friendship with the late King of Rock and Roll began in high school. He later spent 20 years working for Elvis as a bodyguard and driver. He also costarred alongside the icon in several films, and co-wrote a handful of Elvis’ songs, including “Separate Ways,” “If Every Day Was Like Christmas” and “If You Talk in Your Sleep.”


One other notable piece of Red’s work, which he co-wrote after being fired by Elvis’ father in the ’70s, is “Elvis: What Happened?” The book, which details Elvis’ drug dependency and unhealthy lifestyle, was published in the final weeks of the legend’s life.

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Following Elvis’ death, Red concentrated on acting full-time. His most famous role was in 1989’s “Road House,” starring Patrick Swayze. Some other credits include 1997’s “The Rainmaker,” 2008’s “Goodbye Solo” and, most recently, 2013’s “Safe Haven,” which starred Julianne Hough.

Our hearts go out to the friends, family and fans of Red West.

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