Entertainment

Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis Presley, dead at 54

Lisa Marie Presley, a singer, Elvis's only daughter and a dedicated keeper of her father's legacy, died Thursday after being hospitalized for a medical emergency. She was 54.

Singer had been hospitalized earlier Thursday for a medical emergency

Lisa Marie Presley dead at 54

25 days ago
Duration 2:01
Lisa Marie Presely, the only child of rock 'n' roll icon Elvis Presley, has died at the age of 54 after going into cardiac arrest. Born into rock royalty, Presley charted her own musical path amid tumultuous personal challenges.

Lisa Marie Presley, a singer, Elvis's only daughter and a dedicated keeper of her father's legacy, died Thursday after being hospitalized for a medical emergency. She was 54.

Presley's death was confirmed by her mother, Priscilla.

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

Los Angeles County paramedics were dispatched to a Calabasas home at 10:37 a.m. following a report of a woman in full cardiac arrest, according to Craig Little, a spokesperson for the county's fire department. Property records indicate Presley is a resident at that address.

Paramedics arrived about six minutes later and the woman was taken by ambulance to the hospital, Little said.

Close up of a blond woman smiling broadly.
Lisa Marie Presley, the only child of Elvis Presley, seen here in 2003, died Thursday after a brief hospitalization. She was 54. (Fred Prouser/Reuters )

Said her father 'always influenced' her

Presley, the only child of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, 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 appearing on stage with Pat Benatar and Richard Hawley among others.

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

"It's been all my life," she told The Associated Press in 2012, speaking of 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."

A woman dressed in black and sparkly silver speaks into a microphone while holding an envelope.
Presley presents an award at the Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, Tenn., on Nov. 1, 2012. (Harrison McClary/Reuters)

Her birth, nine months exactly after her parents' wedding, was international news and her background was rarely far from her mind.

With the release last year of Baz Luhrmann's major musical feature Elvis, Lisa Marie and Priscilla Presley had been attending red carpets and award shows alongside the film's stars.

Attended Golden Globes

She was at the Golden Globes on Tuesday to celebrate Austin Butler's award for playing her father.

She called his performance "mind-blowing" during a red carpet interview with Entertainment Tonight.

"I really didn't know what to do with myself after I saw it," she said of Baz Luhrmann's movie. "I had to take, like, five days to process it because it was so incredible and so spot on and just so authentic that, yeah, I can't even describe what it meant."

Just days before that, she was in Memphis, Tenn., at Graceland — the mansion where Elvis lived — on Jan. 8 to celebrate her father's birthday.

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Elvis Presley poses with wife Priscilla and daughter Lisa Marie, in a room at Baptist hospital in Memphis, Tenn., on Feb. 5, 1968. Lisa Marie Presley was four years old when the couple separated, and five years later was staying at Graceland the night her father died. (The Associated Press)

Memories of her father

Presley lived with her mother, an actor known for Dallas and the Naked Gun movies, in California after her parents split up in 1973.

She recalled early memories of her dad during her visits to Graceland, riding golf carts through the neighbourhood and seeing his daily entrances down the stairs.

"He was always fully, fully geared up. You'd never see him in his pyjamas coming down the steps, ever," she told The Associated Press in 2012. "You'd never see him in anything but 'ready to be seen' attire."

Elvis Presley died in August 1977 at just 42, when Lisa Marie was nine years old. She was staying at Graceland at the time and would recall him kissing her goodnight hours before he would collapse and never recover. When she next saw him, the following day, he was lying face down in the bathroom.

"I just had a feeling," she told Rolling Stone in 2003. "He wasn't doing well. All I know is I had [a feeling], and it happened. I was obsessed with death at a very early age."

IN PHOTOS | Lisa Marie Presley through the years: 

Public celebrity marriages

She would later make headlines of her own. Struggles with drugs and some very public marriages. Her four husbands included Michael Jackson and Nicolas Cage.

Jackson and Presley were married in the Dominican Republic in 1994, but the marriage ended two years later and was defined by numerous awkward public appearances, including an unexpected kiss from Jackson during the MTV Video Music Awards and a joint interview with Diane Sawyer when she defended Jackson against allegations he had sexually abused a minor.

Her other celebrity marriage was even shorter: Cage filed for divorce after four months of marriage in 2002.

"I had to sort of run into many walls and trees," she told the AP 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 … 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."

Two women singing into mircrophones onstage. one in a denim jacket and hat, the other in black leather pants and black jacket.
Lisa Marie Presley performed with Pat Benatar, left, during the VH1 Divas Duets concert in Las Vegas on May 22, 2003. (Ethan Miller/Reuters)

Vocal about grief over son's death

Lisa Marie became involved in numerous humanitarian causes, from anti-poverty programs administered through the Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation to relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina. She would receive formal citations from New Orleans and Memphis for her work.

Presley had two children, actor Riley Keough and Benjamin Keough, with her former husband Danny Keough. She also had twin daughters with ex-husband Michael Lockwood.

Benjamin Keough died by suicide in 2020 at the age of 27. Presley 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 nine 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 shared with People magazine.

"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 honoured 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?" the essay continued. "No. Just no … no no no no."

Woman in a white dress and a man in a black jacket and black fedora-style hat and dark glasses holding hands.
Presley was married four times, including once to superstar Michael Jackson. The two appeared together in Budapest on Aug. 6, 1994. (Stringer/Reuters)

Overcoming hurdles to her own career

Lisa Marie became the sole heir of the Elvis Presley Trust after her father died.

Along with Elvis Presley Enterprises, the trust managed Graceland and other assets until she sold her majority interest in 2005. She retained ownership of Graceland Mansion itself, the 13 acres around it and items inside the home. Her son is buried there, along with her father and other members of the Presley family.

Three women dressed in black crouch while pressing their hands into cement.
Lisa Marie, left, her mother, Priscilla, centre, and daughter, Riley Keough, leave their handprints in cement at the TCL Chinese theatre in Los Angeles on June 21, 2022. (Ringo Chiu/Reuters)

After her first album To Whom It May Concern, in 2003, some fans came out to see her perform just out of curiosity given her famous family, she told the AP in 2005.

"First I had to overcome a pre-speculated idea of me," she said of the barriers she faced in 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 continued. "But the scales never tipped in the other direction too much."

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story described a photo as being taken at the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In fact, it was taken at the TCL Chinese theatre in Los Angeles.
    Jan 12, 2023 9:55 PM ET

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