Diehard Elvis fan refuses to die without visiting Graceland

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GEORGE TOWN: Elvis Presley fan T Gunasegaran is bent on setting foot in the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Graceland mansion before he dies.

“Without stepping into Elvis’ house, I will not die,” the 69-year-old said.

Gunasegaran became an Elvis fan while still a student, thanks to the influence of his elder brother who constantly played Elvis’ songs at home.

Over the years, he has spent more than RM30,000 on Elvis paraphernalia including records, albums and posters.

“I have obtained some of the unique prized collections of Elvis which include the matryoshka dolls of Elvis purchased from Russia, an album of Elvis’ gospel songs that was banned from Malaysia, stamps and action figures collected from the US, laserdisc albums which were only available in Hong Kong, and a pop-up Christmas album revealing Elvis’ mansion coated in snow,” he told Bernama in an interview at his house at Lebuh Rambai in Paya Terubong.

Because of his “obsession” with Elvis, many of Gunasegaran’s friends have given him the nickname “Elvis Kuna”.

Gunasegaran also loves to sing Elvis’ songs and has performed at various functions and charity events.

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Every weekend, he performs at Armenian Street with other senior citizens “to raise funds for the orphanage at St Joseph’s Home on Saturdays and for Tabung Harapan Malaysia on Sundays”.

“Back in the old days, my friends and I used to go for karaoke sessions. That was the time I gained my confidence in singing Elvis’ songs,” he said.

His favourites include “Can’t Help Falling In Love”, “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Love Me Tender”.

Gunasegaran said he had always wanted to visit Graceland, a mansion on a 5.6-hectare estate owned by Elvis located in Memphis, Tennessee.

In 1994, he said, he underwent coronary bypass surgery. However, he refused to undergo triple coronary bypass surgery as advised by his doctors in 2012 until his daughters promised they would take him to visit his idol’s home if he did.

All went well during the surgery, and Gunasegaran had planned to visit Graceland with some of his friends in 2017. However, the trip was cancelled after one of them was involved in a fatal car accident.

Gunasegaran now says he will likely visit Graceland next year, accompanied by his two daughters who will specially request for two weeks off from work.