The ex-wife of Elvis Presley, Priscilla, and their daughter Lisa Marie attended the annual candlelight vigil in Memphis for the first time ever on Wednesday (August 15th 2012) for the 35th anniversary of the legendary rock 'n' roller's passing.
The pair have always avoided the tribute event which takes place at Elvis' mansion, Graceland, where he lived, died and was buried. Every year since 1980, tens of thousands of Elvis fans gather at the building to pay their respects to the late 'Jailhouse Rock' singer by lighting candles, laying flowers and wreaths at his grave and mourning his death. The event runs into Thursday morning with an expected turn-out of 75,000 people. Vigil-goers were shocked when Priscilla and Lisa Marie turned up on a stage just inside Graceland's walls. They expressed their deepest gratitude and love for the fans' dedication and adoration for their lost loved one and Priscilla described it as simply amazing. 'This is something that Elvis would never, ever have believed could have taken place here', she told the crowd. She and 'The King' met in Friedberg, Germany when she was just 14 and they began a relationship despite him being ten years her senior. They were married in 1967 but divorced only a few years later in 1973.
Lisa Marie confessed her reasons for not attending any of the earlier vigils but seemed overcome with emotion at the sight of so many passionate fans of her father's. "I've always avoided this because I felt that it would be too emotional", she told them. "But I really felt it was important to come down here tonight. I love you very, very, very much". Those influenced by the hip-swinging rock 'n' roll icon of the 50s and 60s had flocked from not only various parts of the United States, but from across the world just to celebrate his music and life. Elvis died on August 16th 1977 at the age of just 42 following an addiction to prescription drugs which caused him to develop glaucoma, high blood pressure and liver damage among other things, eventually suffering a fatal heart attack at his home. Recent stories have reported that as well as the unexpected arrival at this year's event, as part of the 35th anniversary a Bible belonging to Elvis is being auctioned at Omega Auctions in Stockport on September 8th 2012. It contains various notes within its pages written by Elvis and will be sold alongside over 100 other pieces of Elvis memorabilia.