Vernon was there on August 16, 1977 when his beloved son died. On that fateful day, a devastated father waited for news at Graceland with Elvis’ daughter Lisa Marie and fiancee Ginger Alden after Elvis had been found collapsed in his bathroon. An ambulance had rushed the star to the Memphis Baptist Memorial Hospital at 2.55pm. Time of death was confirmed at 3.30pm and Vernon stood on the steps of Graceland at 4pm and told the media that The King was dead. The outpouring of grief from around the world was extraordinary and Vernon recorded another heartbreaking message for the fans.
The message was part of an ABC broadcast which also included powerful footage of Elvis’s last ever live performances.
Vernon stood beneath a framed portrait of Elvis inside Graceland, surrounded by enormous piles of letters from fans filling the whole room.
He said: “I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for all the cards and letters that you have sent since the passing away of my son, Elvis. We have all the flowers and the letters and the cards, which we will eventually get around to answering, the majority of them.”
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