Thirty-five years after his death, Elvis Presley is still the King.
Tens of thousand of Elvis fans who gathered at Graceland for a candlelight vigil Wednesday night, on the eve of the 35th anniversary of his death at age 42, were treated to a special appearance by Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley – the first time the late singer’s ex-wife and daughter have attended the annual vigil together.
“I’ve always avoided this because I felt that it would be too emotional,” Lisa Marie, 44, told the crowd, reports the Associated Press. “But I really felt it was important to come down here tonight. I love you very, very, very much.”
“You should see this from our point of view. It’s amazing,” said Priscilla, 67, as she looked out from the stage at a sea of burning candles. “It’s truly a sight to behold.”
Speaking on Thursday’s Today show, Lisa Marie said about being at Graceland, “I’m always really happy when I’m here. It always reminds me of when I was happiest in my life. It always brings me right there.”
“This is so much a part of him, this home,” Priscilla told the NBC program. “He loved his home, He always came back here, no matter what. His presence is just all around, going into each room.”
Particularly, Priscilla said, “the kitchen – that’s where we all congregated, Lots of laughs.”
Asked what she used to call her father, Lisa Marie (who was 9 when he died) said, “Daddy,” though a few times, after hearing the fans yelling after him, she tried out “Elvis.” “He wasn’t really thrilled with that,” she said.
An estimated 75,000 people converged this week on the King’s Memphis home, which he bought in 1957 and where he died, after struggling with drug abuse, on Aug. 16, 1977.
The theme of the evening was “I’ll Never Know,” a fitting tribute to a man who would be 77 today but whose untimely death only added to his legend.
After the vigil, many fans laid flowers on Presley’s gravesite, which is located near a swimming pool to the right of the mansion.