Lisa Marie Presley’s Cause of Death Toxicology: What You Need to Know

Lisa Marie Presley, the only child of the legendary rock ‘n’ roll singer Elvis Presley, died unexpectedly on January 12, 2023, at the age of 54. She was found in cardiac arrest at her home in Calabasas, California, and was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. Her death shocked and saddened her fans and family, who were still grieving the loss of her son Benjamin Keough, who died by suicide in 2020.

But what was the cause of Lisa Marie Presley’s death? And what role did the opioids and other medications found in her system play in her demise? Here are some facts and insights based on the official reports and sources.

Small Bowel Obstruction: The Official Cause of Death

According to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office, Lisa Marie Presley died of natural causes from sequelae of small bowel obstruction. This means that she had a blockage in her small intestine that caused complications and ultimately led to her cardiac arrest.

Small bowel obstruction can be caused by various factors, such as colon cancer, medication, or adhesions (scar tissue) that form after surgeries. Some conditions that inflame the intestines can also lead to small bowel obstruction. In Lisa Marie Presley’s case, the autopsy report stated that the adhesions were caused by weight-loss surgery, known as bariatric surgery, that she underwent several years ago. This is a known long-term complication of this type of surgery.

Small bowel obstruction can cause severe pain, nausea, vomiting, bloating, and constipation. If left untreated, it can lead to infection, dehydration, tissue death, and sepsis. Dr. Angelique Campen, an emergency room physician at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California, told CBS News that deaths from small bowel obstruction are rare. In many cases, patients would seek medical attention due to the pain and discomfort they experience.

However, it is unclear whether Lisa Marie Presley had any symptoms or warning signs before her death. It is also unknown whether she had any follow-up care or monitoring after her weight-loss surgery.

Opioids and Other Medications: Did They Contribute to Her Death?

The toxicology report revealed that Lisa Marie Presley had opioids and other medications in her system at the time of her death. She had therapeutic levels of Oxycodone, a prescription painkiller, in her blood. She also had traces of Buprenorphine, another opioid that can be used for pain relief or to treat opioid addiction. Additionally, she had Quetiapine, an antipsychotic medication.

The medical examiner’s office stated that the opioids in her system did not contribute to her death. However, some experts have questioned this conclusion. Dr. Cyril Wecht, a forensic pathologist who has investigated many celebrity deaths, told The Nerdistash that he was surprised by the finding4. He said that opioids can depress the respiratory system and lower the oxygen level in the blood, which can affect the heart function. He also said that Quetiapine can have a similar effect.

Dr. Wecht suggested that Lisa Marie Presley may have had an undiagnosed heart condition or a genetic predisposition to cardiac arrest. He said that more tests and studies are needed to determine the exact role of the drugs in her death.

Lisa Marie Presley had a history of substance abuse and addiction. She admitted in a 2003 interview with Rolling Stone that she had used cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, and other drugs in her youth. She also said that she had been sober for several years and was attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings.

However, after her son’s suicide in 2020, she reportedly relapsed and started taking opioids again. According to TMZ, she began taking weight-loss medication and underwent plastic surgery two months before her death. She allegedly lost more than 50 pounds before appearing at the Golden Globes on January 10th, two days before her death.

Lisa Marie Presley was the sole heir of Elvis Presley’s estate when he died in 1977. She inherited his music catalog, Graceland mansion, and other assets when she turned 25 in 1993. She also had a successful career as a singer-songwriter herself, releasing three albums over the years.

However, she also faced financial troubles and legal battles throughout her life. She claimed in a 2018 lawsuit that her former business manager squandered her fortune and left her with $500 million in debt. She also filed for divorce from her fourth husband, Michael Lockwood, in 2016, after 10 years of marriage. They had two daughters, twins Harper and Finley, who were 14 years old at the time of her death.

After Lisa Marie Presley’s death, a legal dispute arose over her will and estate. Her mother, Priscilla Presley, filed a challenge to the will’s validity, arguing that she was unaware of a 2016 amendment that had removed her as a trustee overseeing Lisa Marie’s estate. Instead, the amendment named Benjamin Keough and Riley Keough, Lisa Marie’s children from her first marriage to Danny Keough, as co-trustees.

The legal dispute was settled in May 2021. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but Priscilla Presley’s lawyer told ET that “all parties have reached a settlement and the families are happy”. Riley Keough’s lawyer also confirmed that “Riley is very happy. She’s a remarkable woman and her future is bright”.

Lisa Marie Presley was buried next to her son Benjamin Keough at Graceland Cemetery in Memphis, Tennessee. She is also survived by her mother Priscilla Presley and her daughters Riley Keough, Harper Lockwood, and Finley Lockwood. Her legacy as Elvis Presley’s only child and a talented musician lives on in their hearts and memories.

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