Lisa Marie is Dead at Age 54

Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis Presley and a singer-songwriter who dedicated her life to his legacy, died Thursday following a medical emergency. She was 54 years old.

After a medical episode at home, her mother, Priscilla, confirmed that her daughter had died in a Los Angeles hospital a few hours after paramedics rushed her to the hospital.

“It is with a heavy heart that I must share the devastating news that my beautiful daughter Lisa Marie has left us,” said her mother, Priscilla Presley. “She was the most passionate, strong and loving woman I have ever known.”

She shared her father’s brooding charisma – the hooded eyes, the insolent smile, the low, sultry voice – and followed him professionally, releasing her own rock albums in the 2000s and performing on stage with Pat Benatar and Richard Hawley among other performers.

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

“It’s been all my life,” she told The Associated Press in 2012, referring to her father’s influence. “It’s not something that I now listen to and it’s different. Although I might listen closer. I remain consistent on the fact that I’ve always been an admirer. He’s always influenced me.”

It was international news when she was born, nine months after her parents’ wedding, and her background was never far from her mind. After the release of Baz Luhrmann’s major musical feature “Elvis” last year, Lisa Marie and Priscilla Presley have been attending red carpet events with the film’s stars.

On Tuesday, she attended the Golden Globes to celebrate Austin Butler’s award for playing her father. She had just celebrated her father’s birth anniversary in Memphis on Jan. 8 at Graceland, the mansion where Elvis lived and died.

After her parents split up in 1973, Presley lived with her mother, an actress known for films such as Dallas and Naked Gun. During her visits to Graceland, she recalls riding golf carts through the neighborhood and seeing her father’s daily entrance down the stairs.

“He was always fully, fully geared up. You’d never see him in his pajamas coming down the steps, ever,” she stated in a 2012 interview with The Associated Press. “You’d never see him in anything but ‘ready to be seen’ attire.”

When Elvis Presley passed away in August 1977, he was 42 years old, and she was 9 years old. Lisa Marie was staying at Graceland at the time and recalls him kissing her goodnight hours before he collapsed and died. The next day, when she saw him again, he was lying face down in the bathroom.

“I just had a feeling,” she explained to Rolling Stone in 2003. “He wasn’t doing well. All I know is I had it (a feeling), and it happened. I was obsessed with death at a very early age.”

It would not be long before she made headlines of her own. A history of drug abuse and some very public marriages. She has been married to four men, including Michael Jackson and Nicolas Cage.

In 1994, Jackson married Presley in the Dominican Republic. However, the marriage ended two years later. The marriage was marked by numerous awkward public appearances, including Jackson’s unexpected kiss at the MTV Video Music Awards and her joint interview with Diane Sawyer in which she defended her husband against allegations that he sexually abused a minor.

During her other celebrity marriage in 2002, Cage filed for divorce after four months of marriage.

“I had to sort of run into many 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. Either way, it was a growing process. It was just in a different way. It was just out in front of everybody all the time. Because it’s all documented of course.”

Lisa Marie became involved in numerous humanitarian causes, including anti-poverty programs administered by the Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation and relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina. As a result of her efforts, she would receive formal citations from the cities of New Orleans and Memphis, Tennessee.

She has two children with her former husband Danny Keough, actor Riley Keough, born in 1989, and Benjamin Keough, born in 1992. Additionally, in 2008, she had twin daughters, Harper and Finley Lockwood, with her ex-husband Michael Lockwood.

Their marriage ended in a protracted and combative divorce, which began in 2016 and was still not resolved when she passed away in 2021, though they were declared single at the time. During 2017, the girls, who are now 15 years old, were temporarily placed in protective custody as a result of the fight. Later, Presley and Lockwood shared joint custody, but were still at odds over the issue of child support, with Lockwood seeking more funds from Presley.

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

“I’ve dealt with death, grief and loss since the age of 9 years old. I’ve had more than anyone’s fair share of it in my lifetime and somehow, I’ve made it this far,” she wrote in an essay published in People.

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

After her father’s death, Lisa Marie became the sole heir to the Elvis Presley Trust. Graceland and other assets were managed by the trust in conjunction with Elvis Presley Enterprises until she sold her majority interest in 2005. Graceland Mansion itself, the 13 acres surrounding it, as well as items contained within it, remained in her possession. There is a graveyard there where her son is buried, as well as her father and other members of the Presley family.

Lisa Marie Presley was a former Scientologist – her son was born in 1992 under the guidelines set by Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, according to an AP story at the time – but later broke off her relationship with the organization.

Lisa Marie and Priscilla Presley would frequently visit Graceland during huge fan celebrations on the anniversaries of Elvis’ death and birthday. In Graceland, there are two airplanes, one of which is named Lisa Marie.

It was just out of curiosity that some fans came to see her perform after she released her first album “To Whom It May Concern” in 2003, she told the Associated Press in 2005.

“First I had to overcome a pre-speculated idea of me,” she said regarding her 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 then that was the second one, and I’m the offspring of — you know, who I’m the offspring of — I had a few hurdles to get through, no doubt about it,” she explained. “But the scales never tipped in the other direction too much.”