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.