Go to main content

Bill Burk Passes Away

April 25, 2008 | People
Bill Eugene Burk, Elvis World's "007", passed away yesterday morning at Baptist Hospital, he was 76. Bill Burk was a great but critical promoter of the Elvis legacy and through his many books ("Early Elvis - The Tupelo Years", "The Humes Years" and "The Sun Years") and long running magazine, Elvis World, was renowned for disspelling many of the myths which had grown up around Elvis.
Our sincere condolences to Bill's wife, Connie, and his family.
This is the message from Bill's wife Connie in which she informed fans of the sad news:

It is with such great and abiding sadness that I am telling you that Bill passed away peacefully today at Baptist Hospital at 10:10 am, surrounded by his 3 children -- Gary, Jennifer, Randy -- and me.

He had irreversable brain damage from cardiac arrest suffered Monday afternoon, and it was his living will that he not be kept alive artificially in a situation like that.

It is terribly painful for those of us left behind, who will miss him so dearly, but Bill is now in a much better place.

Services will be at Memphis Funeral Home, Poplar Avenue. Visitation on Sunday, April 27, 3-6 pm. Service Monday, April 28, 1 pm. Burial at West Tennessee Veterans Cemetery at a later date next week.

We ask that any memorials be donated to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, www.stjude.org, in Bill's name.

Thank you for all your prayers and support throughout Bill's illness. We both truly appreciated it!

Update from the Commercial Appeal (Memphis Newspaper):

Newsman covered life, career of Elvis
Columnist wrote books on Presley, published magazine
Bill E. Burk was a newspaperman with a front row seat for the life and career of Elvis Presley who later kept the King alive in books and a magazine.

Mr. Burk, 75, died Thursday following a heart attack.

During the last 20 years of Presley's life, Mr. Burk, a columnist for the Memphis Press-Scimitar until it closed in 1983, wrote roughly 400 stories and columns about the King's life.

And over the last 20 years he published 13 Elvis books and the quarterly Elvis World magazine.

The latest issue of the magazine was published in February and Mr. Burk's wife, Connie, said it would likely be the last.

"He's such a gifted writer it wouldn't be the same without him," she said.

Mr. Burk lived one minute from Graceland and at times visited the entertainer there. Every so often Presley would return the gesture with a visit to Mr. Burk's home.

Mr. Burk, a native Memphian who was also a international pilot and standout athlete in three sports, uncovered plenty of Elvis photos and stories, particularly from his early days.

"The Elvis I have come to know in talking to scores of his friends, classmates, teachers and neighbors since 1985 have greatly deepened my knowledge of Elvis and today I find I admire the man much more than I did during those 20 years we were neighbors," Mr. Burk said in a recent column on the Elvis Information Network.

Mr. Burk, nicknamed "007" because of the way he signed his last name, said he always enjoyed the thrill of the investigation, unearthing those personal moments with greatness that so many Memphians shared.

"He enjoyed the hunt," said Mrs. Burk.

Mr. Burk was given the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau Tourism Award in 1980. He was the first journalist to win the award that honors supporters of the tourism industry in Memphis.

He was also twice named United Press International Columnist of the Year in Tennessee.

"He was a great friend to Elvis fans and a respected journalist who covered Elvis for a number of years," said Kevin Kern, spokesman for Elvis Presley Enterprises.

Burk is also survived by two sons, Gary and Randy, and his daughter, Jennifer.

Services will be at 1 p.m. Monday at Memphis Funeral Home Poplar Avenue, with burial later in the week at West Tennessee Veterans Cemetery.

The family asks that any memorials be donated to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, stjude.org.
japio wrote on April 25, 2008
I met Bill when we had an meeting in Hoogeveen. He was different from all the others. He give us all a book or magazine with a personaly message. And he asked nothing for it. Most of the time have to pay for it. And it was a desent fine man to work with. My sincerly condolences to his family. And Bill thanks for all and rest in peace
Shaky wrote on April 25, 2008
I spent two weeks in Memphis in 1995, It was my first trip to Graceland working with 'Elvis Memories' and Bill & Connie made me so welcome. His insight into the Elvis world has always stayed with me. He was brutally honest with everyone including Elvis, which I think Elvis respected if not accepted towards the end. God bless you Bill for being your own man!
Brian Quinn wrote on April 25, 2008
Sad news indeed. I met Bill once and he was a really nice guy. He introduced me to Jerry Lee lewis at an Elvis Tribute Show in Memphis. My condolences go to his relatives and friends. R.I.P. Bill.
Steve V wrote on April 25, 2008
Sad news. Very nice man. RIP Bill
Dorulet wrote on April 25, 2008
Rest in Peace :(
Getlow wrote on April 25, 2008
007 was my friend for over 20 years, he stayed at my house when he visited Scotland and we enjoyed many Mexican dinners together in Memphis. In many ways he was larger than life. I will miss both his friendship and his kindness.
2kisses&3scarfs wrote on April 25, 2008
I'm so sad to hear this news. My sincere sympathy to Connie and Bill's family. Bill did so much for all of us Elvis fans. He will be dearly missed, but he will live on in our hearts, through his books, and through all the "Elvis World" issues we have. Rest in Peace, Bill.
GeeBee wrote on April 25, 2008
Incredibly sorry to hear this. He was an invaluable asset to the Elvis world, he can not be replaced. Contrary, blow-hard, loveable bear, yes larger than life. Big hugs to you Bill, thank you so much for all you did......................
secondrichard wrote on April 25, 2008
Not that Bill was an enormous Icon in the Elvis World, but the news of his passing made me sad this afternoon. Bill was in Holland often and I had the chance meeting him several times, some 15 years ago. Picked him up from the Airport, drove him to his friends house and we even had some evenings with him, talking about his connection to Elvis and Memphis. He was a nice and kind person. Only thing bothering me was that I had to pay for one his books when I met him at a meeting. Two days before I drove 300 kilometers to pick him up from the Airport. But I'll forgive you for that Bill. Sad to say goodbye to you. Rest in Peace and thanks for the memories and conversations. Hope you liked the snert..... (for non Dutch readers : Dutch soup).
Viva wrote on April 25, 2008
Bill revealed more facts about Elvis in his books than all the other publications put together: So many myths were dispelled, and so much enlightening information about Elvis was put in the public domain thanks to him. Of course a huge loss to his family, but a massive loss to the Elvis world, especially considering Bill was a major influence in debunking rumours and lies by his immense knowledge and resourses. Thanks Bill E Burk.
Yvonne wrote on April 26, 2008
I am totally shocked about this news. Bill has been a good friend to me for over 20 years. I so gonna miss his Emails, skype talks, the dinners at Marlow's, our trips, his great story's.... I hope he finally gets the rest he wanted so much since the passing of his son Micheal last November. My thoughts are with his wife Connie and his children. Rest in Peace my friend.
Yvonne wrote on April 26, 2008
To secondrichard: He did love the snert. So much that I had to bring it with me everytime I went to Memphis.