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Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis Presley’s Only Child Dead at 54

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Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis Presley's Only Child Dead at 54

Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis Presley’s only child and a singer-songwriter dedicated to her father’s legacy, died Thursday after being admitted to the hospital for a medical emergency. She was 54 years old.

Her mother, Priscilla, confirmed her death in a Los Angeles hospital a few hours after her daughter was rushed there following a medical emergency at home.

“I must share the heartbreaking news that my beautiful daughter Lisa Marie has left us,” Priscilla Presley said in a statement. “She was the most passionate, powerful, and loving woman I’d ever met.”

Presley, the only child of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, inherited her father’s brooding charisma — the hooded eyes, the arrogant smile, the low, sultry voice — and professionally followed him, releasing her own rock albums in the 2000s and sharing the stage with Pat Benatar and Richard Hawley, among others.

She even formed direct musical ties with her father, lending her voice to Elvis recordings such as “In the Ghetto” and “Don’t Cry Daddy,” a mournful ballad that reminded him of his mother (and Lisa Marie’s grandmother), Gladys Presley’s early death.

“It’s been all my life,” she said of her father’s influence to The Associated Press in 2012. “I’m not listening to it anymore, and it’s different. I might pay more attention. I’ve always been an admirer, and I intend to remain so. He’s always had an impact on me.”

Lisa-Marie-Presley-Golden-Globes

Lisa Marie Presley Attended Golden Globes

Her birth, nine months after her parents’ wedding, made international headlines, and her family history was never far from her mind. With the release of Baz Luhrmann’s major musical feature “Elvis” last year, Lisa Marie and Priscilla Presley began attending red carpets and award shows alongside film stars.

She was in attendance at the Golden Globes on Tuesday to celebrate Austin Butler’s award for playing her father. On Jan. 8, she was in Memphis at Graceland — the mansion where Elvis lived and died — to celebrate her father’s birthday.

After her parents divorced in 1973, Presley moved to California to live with her mother, an actress known for “Dallas” and the “Naked Gun” films. During her visits to Graceland, she recalled riding golf carts through the neighborhood and seeing her father’s daily entrances down the stairs.

“He was always completely prepared. “You’d never see him coming down the stairs in his PJs,” she told The Associated Press in 2012. “You’d never see him dressed anything other than’ready to be seen.'”

Elvis Presley died in August 1977, when he was 42 years old and she was nine years old. Lisa Marie was staying at Graceland at the time, and she remembered him kissing her goodnight hours before he collapsed and died. The next time she saw him, he was lying face down in the bathroom.

“I just had a gut feeling,” she explained to Rolling Stone in 2003. “He wasn’t doing so hot. All I know is that I had it (the feeling), and it occurred. I was obsessed with death from a young age.”

She would later make her own headlines. Drug problems and some very public marriages. Among her four husbands were Michael Jackson and Nicolas Cage.

lisa marie presley

Married Micheal Jackson

Jackson and Presley married in the Dominican Republic in 1994, but the marriage ended two years later due to a series of awkward public appearances, including an unexpected kiss from Jackson at the MTV Video Music Awards and a joint interview with Diane Sawyer in which she defended her husband against allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

Cage’s other celebrity marriage lasted only four months before she filed for divorce in 2002.

“I had to sort of run into a lot of walls and trees,” she told the Associated Press in 2012. “But now I can also look back at it and tell you all the stuff that was going on around me and all the different people around me and all the awww — and it was not a good situation anyway. That wasn’t helping matters. In any case, it was a learning experience. It was just done differently. It was always right in front of everyone. Because, of course, everything is documented.”

Lisa Marie became involved in a variety of humanitarian causes, ranging from anti-poverty programs run by the Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation to relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina. For her efforts, she received formal citations from New Orleans and Memphis, Tennessee.

With her former husband Danny Keough, Presley had two children: actor Riley Keough, born in 1989, and Benjamin Keough, born in 1992. In 2008, she and ex-husband Michael Lockwood had twin daughters, Harper and Finley Lockwood.

lisa marie presley

Presley and Lockwood

Her marriage to Lockwood would end in a contentious and protracted divorce that began in 2016 and was still unresolved when she died, despite the fact that they were declared divorced in 2021. The girls, now 15, were placed in protective custody following the fight in 2017. Presley and Lockwood eventually shared custody, but they remained at odds over the issue, with Lockwood demanding more child support from Presley.

Benjamin Keough, 27, committed suicide in 2020. Presley was open about her grief, writing last August in an essay that she had “been living in the horrific reality of its unrelenting grips since my son’s death two years ago.”

“I’ve been dealing with death, grief, and loss since I was nine years old. “I’ve had more than anyone’s fair share of it in my lifetime, and I’ve made it this far,” she wrote in an essay published by People magazine.

“But this one, the death of my lovely, lovely son? The sweetest and most incredible being I’ve ever had the honor of knowing, who made me feel so honored to be his mother every single day? Who was so similar to his grandfather on so many levels that he scared me? Which made me worry about him even more than I would have otherwise,” the essay continued. “No. Just no… no, no, no…”

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After her father died, Lisa Marie became the sole heir to the Elvis Presley Trust. The trust managed Graceland and other assets alongside Elvis Presley Enterprises until she sold her majority stake in 2005. She retained ownership of the Graceland Mansion, as well as the 13 acres surrounding it and the contents of the home. Her son, as well as her father and other Presley family members, are buried there.

Lisa Marie Presley is a former Scientologist — her son was born in 1992 under Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s guidelines, according to an AP story at the time — but she later left Scientology.

Lisa Marie and Priscilla Presley would visit Graceland on numerous occasions, including the anniversaries of Elvis’ death and birthday. The Lisa Marie is the name of one of Graceland’s two planes.

Following the release of her first album, “To Whom It May Concern,” in 2003, some fans came out to see her perform simply out of curiosity, she told the Associated Press in 2005.

“First, I had to overcome a preconceived notion of myself,” she said of the obstacles to becoming a singer-songwriter.

“I had to sort of burst through that and introduce myself, and that was the first hurdle, and then now sing in front of everybody, and that was the second hurdle,” she continued. “However, the scales never tipped too far in the other direction.”

Source: The Associated Press

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