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Fans Mark Death of Elvis Presley

August 16, 1999

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) _ Elvis Presley fans sobbed at his grave, tapped their toes to rock ‘n’ roll and dressed like their idol to mark the 22nd anniversary of his death.

``When you’re an Elvis fan, you must be here if you can,″ said Jerry Engelby, 57, of Jefferson, Mo., during Sunday night’s candlelight procession past the legend’s grave.

The event highlights Elvis Week, an annual series of memorials, dances and parties that mark the anniversary of Presley’s death on Aug. 16, 1977. Presley faithful began the vigil the year afterward, and have kept it up since.

Up to 4,000 devotees gathered in the street in front of Presley’s Graceland mansion to light candles from a torch at Presley’s grave before walking single file up the driveway to the grave beside Graceland’s swimming pool.

Judy French, 52, of Rolling Fork, Miss., said it’s hard to explain to others why the faithful keep coming back.

``You have to be an Elvis fan to understand,″ she said. ``We love the man.″

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