Lisa Marie Presley, the smoky-voiced singer and songwriter who led a soap opera existence as the only child of Elvis Presley and the first wife of Michael Jackson, has died. She was 54.
Presley died Thursday at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center after an episode of cardiac arrest earlier in the day at her home in Calabasas, California, her mother, actress Priscilla Presley announced in a statement.
“It is with a heavy heart that I must share the devastating news that my beautiful daughter Lisa Marie has left us,” she said. “She was the most passionate strong and loving woman I have ever known. We ask for privacy as we try to deal with this profound loss. Thank you for the love and prayers. At this time there will be no further comment.”
According to a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, deputies and fire department personnel arrived on the scene before transporting Lisa Marie to the hospital.
She and her mother attended the Golden Globes on Tuesday night, when Austin Butler won for his starring turn as her dad in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis.
In his acceptance speech, Butler said: “I also want to thank our incredible producers and Warner Bros. and the Presley family. Thank you guys. Thank you for opening your hearts, your memories, your home to me. Lisa Marie and Priscilla, I love you forever.”
Earlier, she called his turn “nothing short of spectacular. Absolutely exquisite. Austin Butler channeled and embodied my father’s heart & soul beautifully.”
Presley’s edgy first album, Capitol Records’ To Whom It May Concern, produced by Glen Ballard, debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 album chart in 2003, featured the singles “Lights Out” and “Sinking In” and was quickly certified gold. She wrote or co-wrote all 11 songs on the LP.
She followed two years later Now What — which included “Idiot,” a kiss-off song to a former lover, and a cover of Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry” — and 2012’s Storm & Grace, a roots rock effort produced by T Bone Burnett. The first single from that was the swampy “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet.”
Presley toured in support of those albums, with The News84Media praising a 2013 concert performance at City Winery in New York that “revealed an endearing warmth and vulnerability.”
Along the way, the singer recorded duets featuring her late father’s vocals for singles including “In the Ghetto,” “I Love You Because” and “Where No One Stands Alone.”
As a singer, she told the Associated Press in 2005, “First I had to overcome a pre-speculated idea of me. 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. But the scales never tipped in the other direction too much.”
She was born on Feb. 1, 1968, in Memphis, as the only child of Elvis and Priscilla, who were married on May 1, 1967, at the Aladdin in Las Vegas. After her parents divorced when she was 4, she moved to Los Angeles to live with her mom, although she regularly visited her dad in Memphis.
She wrote and sang about that on “Lights Out”: “I was crying every time I’d leave you, and then I didn’t want to see you. … I still keep my watch two hours behind.”
She was 9 when Elvis died at age 42 on Aug. 16, 1977.
Presley became joint heir to his estate with her grandfather, Vernon Presley, and great-grandmother, Minnie Mae Hood Presley. After their deaths in 1979 and 1980, respectively, she became the only surviving beneficiary, and she inherited his estate upon turning 25.
In 2004, she sold 85 percent of the holdings for a reported $100 million to SFX Entertainment founder Robert FX Sillerman but retained her father’s Graceland estate on 13 acres in Memphis.
She supervised the launch of a deeply personal exhibit at Graceland, “Elvis … Through His Daughter’s Eyes,” in 2012.
Presley was married to musician Danny Keough from 1988-94, to Jackson from 1994-96, to actor Nicolas Cage from 2002-04 and to guitarist and music producer Michael Lockwood from 2006-21. All her marriages ended in divorce; she had been separated from Lockwood for about five years before the official end of their marriage. (She and Keough remained close, however.)
In a 2003 interview with Rolling StonePresley said that she was still married to Keough and just friends with Jackson when accusations of child abuse began encircling the pop star.
“I got into this whole, ‘I’m going to save you’ thing,” she said. “I thought all that stuff he was doing — philanthropy and the children thing and all this stuff — was awesome, and maybe we could save the world together … OK. Hello. I was delusional. I got some romantic idea in my head that I could save him and we could save the world.”
Survivors include her three daughters, model-actress Riley Keough and twins Harper and Finley. Her son, Benjamin, 27, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in July 2020.
“It’s a real choice to keep going, one that I have to make every single day and one that is constantly challenging to say the least… But I keep going for my girls,” she said. wrote a month later. “I keep going because my son made it very clear in his final moments that taking care of his little sisters and looking out for them were at the forefront of his concerns and his mind. He absolutely adored them and they him.”
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