Thousands of fans, on Thursday, gathered at Graceland, Elvis Presley’s home in Memphis, Tenn., to honor the music legend with a candlelight vigil on his thirty-sixth death anniversary, which falls on Friday.
The vigil for Presley, who died on Aug. 16, 1977, from a heart attack after battling prescription drug addiction, is the highlight of Elvis Week, a series of events celebrating the music, movies and legacy of the music icon, according to the program’s website.
The candlelight vigil -- annually attended by tens of thousands of Presley fans -- starts on the evening of Aug. 15 and continues well into the morning of Aug. 16.
This year, an estimated 35,000 people are expected to be a part of the event, which will have fans walking silently through the Meditation Garden at Graceland where Presley, his mother, father and grandmother are buried, according to Associated Press.
"Where else can you go where you meet people from year to year who have the same passion?" Christine Jeffords, a pre-school teacher from Traverse City, Mich., told AP, regarding her reason for attending the event.
"If you were sad or happy or whatever, he was such a big part of your life," Jeffords said. "I always felt in my heart that he was a good person, a beautiful person."
Police officials told AP that an estimated 75,000 people attended the candlelight vigil last year when Presley’s ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, and his daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, spoke at the event. That was the first time Presley's wife and daughter appeared together for the candlelight vigil since it began one year after Presley’s death as a small, unofficial gathering of his fans.
Lisa Marie was just nine years old when her father died, and in an interview with The Sun last year, she said that her dad’s iconic status has overshadowed her singing career. "I just had to find my own way with it," Lisa Marie said at the time.
"I don't feel I have to prove anything anymore. I was comfortable and it felt natural. I am a singer-songwriter and that's what I do. And my dad was a singer. I guess it would be a lot easier on me if my father had been a builder or a painter or a plumber."