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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The arena where Elvis Presley staged his last public performance was demolished on Sunday in a series of explosions.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building,” a member of the demolition team said seconds before the charges ignited at Market Square Arena.

The 15,000-ton building collapsed inward in less than 15 seconds, with clouds of dust and smoke covering a portion of downtown. The blast was heard up to 25 miles away.

The $23 million arena, which opened in 1974, was the venue for concerts, sporting events and other activities for more than two decades. It had been home to the Indiana Pacers until 1999, when it closed. The Pacers moved into the new Conseco Fieldhouse that same year.

Market Square Arena also is where Elvis performed to a near-sold out audience of 16,000 on June 26, 1977; he died less than two months later.

Elvis fans who considered the arena hallowed ground held candlelight vigils outside the building each year to commemorate the concert.

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“I hate to see it go, but I wanted to be here to see it when it did go,” said Brett Dennis, a 41-year-old nurse.

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