Sonny West of Elvis’ Memphis Mafia Dies at 79

Elvis Presley and Sonny West (Source:


One of the original members of Elvis’ Memphis Mafia died from cancer.

Delbert B. “Sonny” West, Jr., of Hendersonville, Tennessee, died May 24 in Nashville.

Sonny West was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer of the tonsil in April 2012. He fought the diagnosis with chemotherapy and radiation; he was pronounced cancer free later in 2012.

Since then, West underwent triple bypass heart surgery, contracted pneumonia, and developed lung cancer–which eventually took his life.

West became close with Elvis thanks in part to his cousin, Red West. Red went to Humes High School with Elvis and worked with him from the beginning of his career.

Sonny West was considered Elvis’ Head of Security. He toured throughout the United States with Elvis and even appeared in several films with him.

West eventually landed some television and movie roles without Elvis–perhaps most notably as Ellie Mae’s boyfriend in The Beverly Hillbillies.

West’s funeral will be held at Crestview Funeral Home in Gallatin, Tennessee. There will be two public visitations: One Wednesday, May 31, between 4-8 p.m. and another Thursday, June 1, between 12-3 p.m.

West funeral is also open to the public. It will be held at 3 p.m. on Thursday, June 1.

Copyright 2017 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

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