Fans of the King from around the world are in Memphis, Tenn., honoring the 29th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death.
President Bush and his wife, who brought Elvis fan and Japanese leader Junichiro Koizumi to Memphis in June for a tour of Graceland, sent their regards. After the visit, "we were reminded that Elvis Presley will forever have a special place in the cultural life of America," Bush wrote in the letter. The White House sent a letter to be read to the fans noting Presley's "special place in the cultural life of America." It says the anniversary gives fans around the world an opportunity to come together, share memories and celebrate Presley's legacy. The letter will be placed in the Presley archives after being displayed for a limited time in the trophy room at the mansion, Kern said.
Linda Thompson remembers Elvis: The 29th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death was August 16, 2006, and thousands gathered outside Graceland to pay their respects, but only "Extra's" Carlos Diaz went behind the gates with the ultimate Elvis expert, Linda Thompson. "For the first time in too many years, I'm back at Graceland where Elvis lived and ultimately died 29 years ago this week," Linda said. Linda and Elvis were together for four and a half years and lived together at Graceland during that time. However, she moved out about eight months before his tragic death.
"To the world he was The King," Linda said. "To me he was the sweet southern gentleman who swept me off my feet back in 1972. In Memphis for Elvis Week I got to meet with fans, fanatics and old friends, who I haven't seen in many years who gathered to honor his memory."
Linda gave "Extra" a tour of Graceland, including the famous Jungle room. "Elvis and I actually went shopping, and we picked out all this furniture together, so I helped him decorate this room," Linda said. "Please keep in mind that it was his taste I was deferring to." Linda also showed us a piece of jewelry she gave Elvis as a Christmas gift one year.
"I designed this Maltese cross for him with our birthstones, each heart, intertwined and brought together by a single diamond," Linda shared. "So many memories, so little time
Presley died of heart disease and prescription drug abuse at his Graceland mansion on Aug. 16, 1977. The singer's fans traditionally file past his grave site at Graceland on the eve of the anniversary. A spokesman says as many as 10,000 fans could visit the mansion for this year's vigil.