A legend in the city’s nightlife scene, Hong Kong’s very own Elvis Presley impersonator, Melvis Kwok, passed away from kidney failure in December.
Kwok was 68, the Hong Kong’s International Elvis Presley Fan Club said. The group wrote on Facebook: “Melvis will be remembered for his colorful life and his passion for Elvis!”
Born in Indonesia, Kwok moved to Hong Kong in 1974, working his first job in the city at a factory in Kwun Tong, the South China Morning Post reported.
Kwok was not an Elvis Presley fan when the artist rose to stardom in the 1950s and 60s. In fact, it was only in 1977—when Elvis died and the world paid tribute to his legacy—that he heard of the music icon.
Four years later, after learning his songs by heart and purchasing an Elvis suit, Kwok won his first “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” impersonator competition.
In the decades to come, Kwok roamed the streets of Lan Kwai Fong and Soho in a black wig, an acoustic guitar emblazoned with the word “JESUS” strapped around his shoulder. Bars and nightclubs hired Kwok for back-to-back gigs as excited revelers took photos with him—back before there was a Facebook or Instagram to post them to.
While there are other, lesser-known Elvis impersonators in Hong Kong, Kwok was the only one in the city for whom the act was full time, according to a New York Times feature from 2010.
“Elvis is my savior,” Kwok said in the Times interview.