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Blount Memorial Hospital employee who brightened days dressed as Elvis passes away

Stephanie Cunningham, the wife of Tom Cunningham, said that he passed away around 5:30 p.m. Sunday after he was admitted to the hospital with COVID-19.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A man who was cherished at the University of Tennessee Medical Center and Blount Memorial Hospital passed away Sunday evening after he was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Tom Cunningham inspired patients at Blount Memorial by dressing as Elvis Presley, bringing smiles to people who may have been in their darkest moments. 

He formally worked as a member of the UTMC custodial staff, but he did more than clean the halls. People would come up to Tom and reminisce, and he was known to sing just like The King of Rock and Roll himself.

He was also known to pray with people who were concerned about loved ones in the hospital. In 2018, a woman spotted him praying with a man who was being treated as her infant daughter was treated in the hospital. She caught the moment on camera and said the moment reignited her faith, assuring her that her infant daughter would be alright.

Credit: Credit: Stephanie Cunningham
Tom Cunningham

His wife, Stephanie Cunningham, said that both of them were admitted to the ICU after being diagnosed with COVID-19. She said that he was placed on a ventilator and given antibiotics as he recovered from the coronavirus.

Information about when people would have a chance to pay their respects and when his funeral would be scheduled was not immediately available. This story will be updated when more information is available.