AceShowbiz - The son of Elton John's former mentor Dick James has claimed his late dad would have lived longer were it not for the pressures put on him by the singer.
Dick signed Elton and his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin when his son Stephen found them rehearsing in his studio without permission, and the pair helped orchestrate the "Rocket Man" star's rise to fame.
However, Elton sued Dick in 1985 over rights to his early material, and the music mogul passed away three months later, aged 65, from a massive heart attack.
Speaking to Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper, Stephen claimed his father "couldn't live with the fact Elton had turned on him," and blamed the "Tiny Dancer" star for his dad's death.
Branding him a "coward" for not personally reaching out to him when his father died, he explained Dick's affection for the singer, sharing: "There is no doubt in my mind he would have lived longer if it wasn't for the stress of the court case."
"My mother told me afterwards he just couldn't come to terms with how Elton had attacked him," he added.
At the time, Dick was in poor health after a recent heart bypass, with Stephen saying the stress of the court case led to the tragic moment his father "keeled over and died."
However, he insisted he's happy Elton speaks affectionately of his dad in his upcoming memoir "Me: Elton John", which drops October 15.