Elephant Man’s newly discovered grave gets official plaque more than 100 years after his death

Officials in the U.K. have placed a plaque at the newly discovered gravesite of Joseph Merrick, who is known as the "Elephant Man," more than a century after he died.

Merrick had severe physical deformities and spent part of his life as an attraction in a freak show. Born in the city of Leicester, he died in London in 1890 of asphyxia caused by the weight of his head when he lay down, according to the National Human Genome Institute, at the age of 27. His tragic story forms the basis of the acclaimed movie "The Elephant Man."

ELEPHANT MAN’S UNMARKED GRAVE DISCOVERED IN THE SAME CEMETERY AS JACK THE RIPPER VICTIMS

The plaque at Joseph Merrick's gravesite. (City of London Corporation)

The plaque at Joseph Merrick's gravesite. (City of London Corporation)

During his life, Merrick received treatment at the then-London Hospital, now known as the Royal London Hospital. His skeleton remains at the hospital, although his soft tissue was buried in a common grave at the City of London Cemetery and Crematorium, the BBC reports.

Merrick’s remains were buried on April 24, 1890. Their precise whereabouts were unknown until Joanne Vigor-Mungovin, author of “Joseph: The Life, Times & Places of the Elephant Man,” recently traced them to the London Cemetery.

CHILLING 'I AM JACK THE RIPPER' POSTCARD RESURFACES

Actor John Hurt in a scene from the film 'The Elephant Man', 1980.

Actor John Hurt in a scene from the film 'The Elephant Man', 1980. (Photo by Stanley Bielecki Movie Collection/Getty Images)

Vigor-Mungovin’s research correlated with information held in the City of London Corporation’s public burial records.

A plaque has now been placed at Merrick’s previously unmarked grave. “This discovery reminds us of London’s rich cultural history and the lives of people from times past,” said Jeremy Simons, chair of the City of London Corporation’s Environmental Services Committee, in a statement. “We are continuing to work with Joanne Vigor-Mungovin and I’m pleased that this plaque will allow our many visitors to see the recently discovered grave.”

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Joseph Carey Merrick

Joseph Carey Merrick (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images)

Mary Ann Nichols and Catherine Eddowes, the first and fourth victims of Jack the Ripper, are also buried in the City of London Cemetery. Because Merrick died in Whitechapel, the same area of London as the Ripper victims, Vigor-Mungovin deduced that they were likely buried in the same cemetery, according to the BBC.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers