MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Elvis Presley's ex-wife Priscilla and their only daughter Lisa Marie stunned a crowd of thousands Wednesday night when they unexpectedly greeted fans who had flocked to Graceland for a candelight vigil marking the 35th anniversary of the singer's death.

Priscilla Presley and her daughter made the unscheduled appearance on a stage set up Wednesday night just inside the walls of Graceland as thousands with lit candles were set to enter the grounds of the stately mansion to honor the "King." Together the two women thanked the crowd for their undying admiration of the rock `n' roll icon.

During the brief remarks, Priscilla called the sight of thousands lofting candles amazing.

"This is something that Elvis would never ever have believed could have taken place here," she said.

Lisa Marie Presley, standing beside her mother, told the fans she loved them for their devotion to her father. She also acknowledged she had shied away from making public appearances at past anniversary vigils for fear of being overwhelmed by the mood.

"I've always avoided this because I felt that it would be too emotional, but I really felt it was important to come down here tonight. I love you very very very much," the singer's daughter told the crowd. The spoke just before a long line of fans, many who had camped outside for hours, were allowed to file past the Elvis Presley gravesite on the grounds of the stately mansion and tourist attraction.

This was the first time both women have appeared together at the annual candlelight vigil, a tradition dating to the early 1980s.

Elvis admirers from around the United States and the globe have flocked each August anniversary to Graceland, where the singer is buried. Presley died on Aug. 16, 1977, from a heart attack after battling prescription drug abuse. His abrupt death at 42 shocked legions of fans around the globe and many today are still mesmerized by his singing, sex appeal and on-stage charisma.

The vigil marked the high point of Elvis Week, the annual celebration of Presley's life and career. Organizers have said they expected 75,000 people to attend Elvis Week, with many taking part in the vigil that began Wednesday evening and lasting into the early hours Thursday.

This year also brings another highlight with a 35th-anniversary tribute concert planned at an area arena Thursday night. Priscilla Presley and Lisa Marie Presley were expected to attend the concert that is to feature live musicians playing along with videotaped footage of Elvis singing.

On Wednesday afternoon, Cheryl Skogen and friend Susan Struss held up black umbrellas with polka dots near the front of the line as they waited to enter Graceland's grounds for the vigil.

As longtime Elvis fans and neighbors in Los Angeles, they said they decided to come to Elvis Week without their husbands. They got up well before dawn Wednesday for a prime spot in the line.

There, women wore pink and black T-shirts emblazoned with Elvis' picture. Some men dressed in black shirts, dark sunglasses and pompadours, Elvis-style.

Skogen said she first came to Graceland in 1981 – before the home became a museum and a tourist attraction – and has visited several times since. She remembers first seeing Elvis on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and being enthralled with his hip-swiveling performance at a Lack Tahoe concert.

"The first time I saw him he changed my life," said Skogen, now 66 and retired. "I had never seen anybody dance like he did or sing like he did or look like he did. He captured my heart."

A few spots down the line, Allen Black, 47, who sat in a blue and white chair alongside the outer wall of Graceland and talked about his memories of where he was when he first heard Elvis had died. He was 12 at the time.

"I was trying to record a song off the radio, and the news came on the radio, and I went to tell my dad," Black said, tears welling in his eyes. "He didn't believe me. It just stunned him."

ting to the early 1980s.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Georgia May Jagger, daughter of Mick Jagger, filmed a commercial for Rimmel London in London, England, on April 15.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Halle Berry filmed scenes for her TV series "Extant" in Century City, Calif. on April 15.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Lauren Conrad did some shopping in West Hollywood on April 15.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx and Dane DeHaan posed during a photocall for their film "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" prior to the German premiere of the film in Berlin on April 15.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Kim Kardashian and her fiance Kanye West walked hand-in-hand as they went shopping in Givenchy, Balmain and Lanvin on April 14 in Paris, France.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan-Tatum joked around backstage at the 2014 MTV Movie Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles, Calif., on April 13.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Lupita Nyong'o arrived at the 2014 MTV Movie Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles, Calif., on April 13.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Taylor Swift and a friend were spotted out and about in New York City on April 12.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Jessica Biel was all smiles as she headed out for an espresso in New York City on April 12.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Leonardo DiCaprio stopped by the McDonald’s® and Stingray Desert Coachella Pool Party at the Bootsy Bellows Estate on April 12 to celebrate the launch of McDonald’s® Bacon Clubhouse Burger™ and the 2014 Corvette Stingray.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Julianne Hough looked Coachella cool at The Old Navy Oasis in Indio, Calif.m on April 12.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Selena Gomez and Kendall and Kylie Jenner at the first weekend of The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 11.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield visited BBC Radio 1 in London on April 9 to promote their new film, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2."

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Pregnant Kristin Cavallari was spotted running in West Hollywood on April 9.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Danica McKellar left "Dancing with the Stars" practice in Hollywood on April 8.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Julianne Moore was pretty in white while out in NYC April 8.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Anne Hathaway wrapped herself up in a giant coat while out in NYC on April 8.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Lady Gaga struck her usual unique pose outside the Roseland Ballroom on April 7.

  • Celebrity News: April 2014

    British socialite <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/07/peaches-geldof-dead_n_5105968.html" target="_blank">Peaches Geldof died</a> of an "unexplained and sudden" cause on April 7. She was 25.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 7

    "Dancing with the Stars" star Derek Hough took a break from rehearsal on April 7 to snack on the new Ritz crackers.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Jamie Lynn Sigler was spotted purchasing a Rembrandt whitening kit at Target in New York on April 7.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw at the 2014 Academy Of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 6.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton at the 2014 Academy Of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 6.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Carrie Underwood at the 2014 Academy Of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 6.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Taylor Swift at the 2014 Academy Of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 6.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Cameron Diaz made an appearance on "Wetten, dass..???" TV show on April 5 in Offenburg, Germany.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Heidi Klum attended the "America's Got Talent" red carpet event at Madison Square Garden on April 4 in New York City.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Nicole Richie attended Lucky FABB: Fashion and Beauty Blog Conference at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills on April 4.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Shakira and Usher attended NBC's "The Voice" red carpet event at The Sayers Club in Hollywood on April 3.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Dianna Agron was spotted out and about West Hollywood on April 3.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Kiernan Shipka, Jessica Pare, Elisabeth Moss, Jon Hamm, January Jones and Christina Hendricks attended the "Mad Men" season 7 premiere at ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood on April 2.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Kate Upton, Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann attended the U.K. premiere of their movie "The Other Woman" on April 2 in London.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Lady Gaga arrived at the "Late Show with David Letterman" taping in NYC April 2.

  • Celebrity Photos: March 2014

    Heidi Klum joined Dr. Scholl’s to announce the DreamWalk line of insoles to help women everywhere bring their uncomfortable shoes out of the “shoe closet" in New York on April 2.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe posed together before the screening of their new film "Noah" in Paris on April 1.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Comedienne Amy Schumer promoted her "Finger Blaster" sketch from season 2 of the Comedy Central hit "Inside Amy Schumer" in NYC, April 1.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Naomi Watts left the gym with a friend after a morning workout on April 1 in Brentwood, Calif.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Hulk Hogan attended the WrestleMania 30 press conference at the Hard Rock Cafe New York on April 1.

  • Celebrity Photos: April 2014

    Sebastian Stan and Chris Evans posed with Captain America during The NYSE Opening Bell at New York Stock Exchange on April 1.

  • Celebrity Photos: March 2014

    Cobie Smulders attended The Cinema Society & Gucci Guilty screening of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" at the TriBeCa Grand Hotel in NYC, March 31.

  • Celebrity Photos: March 2014

    Emma Watson wowed at the UK Premiere of "Noah" at Odeon Leicester Square on March 31 in London.

  • Celebrity Photos: March 2014

    Naomi Watts went for a morning jog with a friend in Brentwood, Calif., on March 31.

  • Celebrity Photos: March 2014

    Johnny Depp attended the "Transcendence" press conference at Grand Hyatt Hotel on March 31 in Beijing, China.

  • Celebrity Photos: March 2014

    Shailene Woodley, Theo James and Kate Winslet attended the European Premiere of "Divergent" at Odeon Leicester Square on March 30 in London.

  • Celebrity Photos: March 2014

    Lea Michele had a Marilyn moment while on the red carpet at the 27th Annual Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards in Los Angeles, Calif., on March 29.

  • Celebrity Photos: March 2014

    Taylor Swift spent some quality time with her model pal Lily Aldridge in NYC on March 28.

  • Celebrity Photos: March 2014

    Melanie Griffith was spotted out and about Beverly Hills on March 28.

  • Celebrity Photos: March 2014

    Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis attended CinemaCon at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, on March 27.

  • Celebrity Photos: March 2014

    Jennifer Lopez sizzled in red on "American Idol" March 27.

  • Celebrity Photos: March 2014

    Reese Witherspoon was spotted heading to a meeting in Beverly Hills on March 27.

  • Celebrity Photos: March 2014

    Taylor Swift went shopping in NYC on March 27.