ELVIS Presley fans hoisted colourful umbrellas against a hot sun and massed in folding chairs outside Graceland on Wednesday, in a candlelight vigil marking the 35th anniversary of the death of the rock ‘n’ roll icon.
Elvis admirers flocked by the thousands to Memphis from around the US and from as far off as England and Japan, many waiting for hours to enter the Memphis mansion where Presley is buried on the grounds.
Presley died on August 16, 1977, of a heart attack after suffering from prescription drug abuse.
His death at 42 marked the end of a soaring musical career that ended all too abruptly for legions of fans still mesmerised today by his singing, sex appeal and on-stage charisma.
The vigil marks the high point of Elvis Week, the annual celebration of Presley’s life and career.
Organisers have said they expected 75 000 people to attend Elvis Week, with many taking part in the vigil that was beginning Wednesday evening and to last into Thursday.
This year also brings another highlight with a 35th-anniversary tribute concert planned at an arena.
Ex-wife Priscilla Presley and daughter Lisa Marie Presley attended the concert featuring live musicians playing along with videotaped footage of Elvis singing.