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Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, dies at 54

Lisa Marie Presley attends the "Mad Max: Fury Road" premiere held at the TCL Chinese Theatre. on May 7, 2015 in Los Angeles. (D. Long/Globe Photos/Zuma Press/TNS)

Lisa Marie Presley, the only child of Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley, who helped oversee her famous father’s estate and pursued a music career of her own, has died. She was 54.

Priscilla Presley’s publicist confirmed Lisa Marie’s death in a statement shared with The Times on Thursday evening.

“Priscilla Presley and the Presley family are shocked and devastated by the tragic death of their beloved Lisa Marie,” the statement said. “They are profoundly grateful for the support, love and prayers of everyone, and ask for privacy during this very difficult time.”

Lisa Marie Presley suffered cardiac arrest at a home near Calabasas on Thursday. A source familiar with the incident told The Times she collapsed and had trouble breathing.

Emergency personnel responded to a 10:37 a.m. call at a home off Las Virgenes Road, L.A. County Fire Department Capt. Sheila Kelliher confirmed to The Times. Presley was then transported to West Hills Hospital.

Fellow singer LeAnn Rimes tweeted about the “heartbreaking” loss.

“I hope she is at peace in her dad’s arms,” she wrote. “My heart goes out to her family. too much grief in just a couple of years.”

Smashing Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan was also among the many paying tribute to Presley on Thursday night. Corgan shared a photo of Presley embracing him and said he was speechless.

“There is heartbreak and then there is sorrow. This would be sorrow and on more levels than I can count,” he wrote on Twitter. “Please send your prayers out for her family and children at this difficult time. I truly cannot find the words to express how sad this truly is. RIP.”

Born in Memphis, Tenn., on Feb. 1, 1968, Presley lived most of her life in the spotlight. Her father’s fans closely followed the details of her birth, and tabloids documented her romances with high-profile husbands including musician Michael Jackson and actor Nicolas Cage, among others.

An only child, Presley spent her youth between two households after her parents divorced in October 1973 — her father’s Graceland mansion in Memphis and her mother’s home in Los Angeles.

When her father died of cardiac arrythmia on Aug. 16, 1977, Presley became the only heir to his massive estate, including his beloved Tennessee home. Her mother, as executor, co-founded Elvis Presley Enterprises, which helped turn Graceland from an overgrown burden into a lucrative tourist attraction.

“I appreciate that I can have that part of my life always stay the same,” Lisa Marie told NPR in 2013. “I think that’s something a lot of people would love to have — your childhood home kept exactly the way it was. It’s heartwarming.”

In 1988, she married aspiring musician Danny Keough in a small, private ceremony at the Church of Scientology’s Hollywood headquarters. They had daughter Riley Keough and son Benjamin Keough before divorcing in 1994.

Before their separation, Presley became eligible to receive her father’s fortune in 1993. Instead of inheriting the funds, she created the Elvis Presley Trust to continue the management of his estate alongside multiple trustees, according to Graceland.

During her days overseeing the Elvis Presley Trust and Elvis Presley Enterprises, Presley in 1994 wed Jackson, the king of pop, and celebrated their “unusual” bond.

“He had something so intoxicating about him, and when he was ready to share with you and be himself … He was like a drug for me,” she told Oprah Winfrey in 2010. Presley and Jackson divorced in 1996.

Six years later came another high-profile but short-lived romance. In 2002, she wed actor Cage in Hawaii. They divorced in 2004, the same year Presley sold a major portion of the estate in a deal worth approximately $100 million.

Her fourth and final marriage was to guitarist and producer Michael Lockwood in 2006. In 2008 Presley welcomed twin girls, Harper and Finley Lockwood, with her fellow “Storm & Grace” musician.

The couple divorced in 2016, and in her divorce papers, Presley announced she was $16 million in debt. Two years later she filed a $100-million lawsuit against former business manager Barry Siegel for mismanaging her finances.

When it came to music, Presley looked to define her own path.

She released her debut album, “To Whom It May Concern,” in 2003 at age 35 — old by the youth-centric standards of pop music. Yet the LP, which she made in part with veteran pop producer and songwriter Glen Ballard, made a creative virtue of her years of life experience, with starkly phrased songs about her complicated family history and the disillusioning aspects of celebrity.

“Someone turned the lights out there in Memphis / That’s where my family’s buried and gone / Last time I was there I noticed a space left / Next to them there in Memphis in the damn back lawn,” she sneered over the crunchy pop-rock guitars of “Lights Out,” a modest radio hit that drove “To Whom It May Concern” to a Top 5 showing on the Billboard 200 chart and gold-certified sales of more than 500,000 copies.

“I really went back through a lot of the dark corridors of my life in this record,” Presley told The Times in 2003. “I wanted people to know who I am based on my music, not on what they read in the tabloids.”

Presley, who identified Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill” as a songwriting inspiration, in 2005 released a follow-up album, “Now What,” led by a knowing cover version of Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry.”

Her third (and final) studio LP came out in 2012: “Storm & Grace,” a rootsier, more stripped-down effort produced by T Bone Burnett that evoked memories of her father’s earliest recordings at Memphis’ Sun Studio.

She was seen in public as recently as Tuesday when she attended the Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, where she joined actor Austin Butler during a red-carpet interview. Butler later won the Golden Globe for actor in a motion picture drama for playing Presley’s father in Baz Luhrmann’s recent film, “Elvis.”

Lisa Marie Presley is survived by her mother and her three daughters. Her son, Benjamin, died in July 2020 at age 27.


©2023 Los Angeles Times.

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