Posted: Aug 16, 2012 7:24 AM
Updated: Aug 16, 2012 7:24 AM
Source: Associated Press
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Thousands of devotees converged on Graceland to mark the 35th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death and got a surprise welcome from the King's former wife and daughter, the first time Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley have appeared together at the annual gathering.
The two women appeared on an elevated stage in front of the crowd Wednesday night, the eve of the Aug. 16 date when the rock and roll icon died at home in 1977 from a heart attack after battling prescription drug abuse.
Fans held up lit candles, illuminating their faces in orange light as they stood in the street outside the gates of Graceland, Elvis' longtime home and his burial place.
Presley's father Vernon, mother Gladys, and grandmother Minnie Mae Hood Presley are also buried there.
The vigil, which was set to run through this morning, marked the high point of Elvis Week, an annual celebration of Presley's life and career. Organizers said about 75,000 people were expected to take part in the vigil.