Lisa Marie Presley, the only child of rock ‘n’ roll legend Elvis Presley, died on January 12, 2023, at the age of 54. Her death shocked and saddened millions of fans around the world, who remembered her as a talented singer, songwriter and heir of her father’s legacy. But what was the cause of Lisa Marie Presley’s death? How did she die so suddenly and unexpectedly? The answer may surprise you.
The official verdict: A small bowel obstruction
According to the Los Angeles County medical examiner’s office, Lisa Marie Presley died of natural causes due to the effects of a small bowel obstruction. This is a condition where the small intestine is blocked, preventing food and fluids from passing through. The blockage can be caused by various factors, such as colon cancer, medication or scar tissue that forms after surgeries.
In Lisa Marie Presley’s case, the medical examiner’s report found that the scar tissue was caused by weight-loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, that she underwent several years ago. The report stated that this was a known long-term complication of this type of surgery.
A small bowel obstruction can cause severe pain, nausea, vomiting, dehydration and infection. If left untreated, it can lead to tissue death, perforation, sepsis and death. The medical examiner’s report did not specify how long Lisa Marie Presley had suffered from this condition before she died.
The tragic irony: A struggle with weight and body image
Lisa Marie Presley had a long and public struggle with her weight and body image. She was often compared to her father, who also battled with obesity and drug addiction before his death in 1977 at the age of 42. She admitted that she inherited his “appetite for everything” and that she used food as a coping mechanism for stress and emotional issues.
She tried various diets and exercise regimes over the years, but none of them worked for her. She said that she felt “trapped” in her body and that she hated herself for being overweight. She also faced harsh criticism and ridicule from the media and the public, who mocked her appearance and questioned her talent.
In an attempt to lose weight and improve her health, Lisa Marie Presley decided to undergo bariatric surgery in 2018. This is a procedure that reduces the size of the stomach or bypasses part of the digestive system to limit food intake and absorption. She reportedly chose a gastric sleeve surgery, which involves removing about 80% of the stomach.
The surgery seemed to work for her at first. She lost about 50 pounds and felt more confident and happy. She said that she finally felt “free” from her weight problem and that she was ready to start a new chapter in her life. She also resumed her music career and released a new album in 2020.
However, the surgery also came with risks and side effects. Some of them include nutritional deficiencies, dumping syndrome, ulcers, hernias and gallstones. And as it turned out, one of the most serious complications was the formation of scar tissue in the small intestine, which eventually led to her fatal bowel obstruction.
The final days: A family tragedy
Lisa Marie Presley’s death was preceded by another family tragedy. In July 2020, her son Benjamin Keough committed suicide at the age of 27. He was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his mother’s home in Calabasas, California. He was reportedly depressed and struggling with drug addiction.
Lisa Marie Presley was devastated by her son’s death. She said that he was “the love of my life” and that she was “completely heartbroken”. She also said that he had a lot in common with his grandfather Elvis, both in looks and personality. She tried to cope with her grief by focusing on her music and her daughter Riley Keough, who is also an actress.
Lisa Marie Presley made her last public appearance on January 10, 2023, at the Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills. She attended the event with her mother Priscilla Presley, who is also an actress and producer. They were seen in tears as they watched Austin Butler win best actor in a film drama for his portrayal of Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s biopic Elvis.
Two days later, Lisa Marie Presley was found unresponsive in her bedroom by her former husband Danny Keough, who also lives at the property. He performed CPR on her until paramedics arrived, but it was too late. She was pronounced dead at the hospital.
She was buried next to her son Benjamin Keough at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. Her mother Priscilla Presley filed a legal challenge to the validity of her will, which had named Benjamin and Riley as co-trustees of her estate. The dispute was settled in May 2023, with Priscilla relinquishing control of her late daughter’s Promenade Trust to Riley for $1.4 million plus an undisclosed sum for ten years.
The legacy: A beloved daughter, mother and artist
Lisa Marie Presley left behind a legacy of love, music and philanthropy. She was the only child of Elvis Presley, who died when she was nine years old. She inherited his estate, which included Graceland, the mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, where he lived and died. She also inherited his musical talent and passion.
She followed in his footsteps and became a singer and songwriter. She released three albums over the course of her career: To Whom It May Concern (2003), Now What (2005) and Storm & Grace (2012). She collaborated with artists such as Pat Benatar, Pink, Richard Marx and Michael Bublé. She also performed duets with her father using his recordings, such as Don’t Cry Daddy (1997) and In the Ghetto (2007).
She was also a humanitarian and an activist. She supported various causes, such as children’s rights, animal welfare, homelessness and drug abuse prevention. She founded the Presley Charitable Foundation, which provides housing and support for homeless families. She also donated millions of dollars to charities, such as the Church of Scientology, Save the Children and the Red Cross.
She was a devoted mother to her four children: Riley Keough, Benjamin Keough, Harper Lockwood and Finley Lockwood. She said that they were “the reason for everything” and that she loved them “more than life itself”. She also had a close relationship with her mother Priscilla Presley, who said that Lisa Marie was “the most passionate, strong and loving woman I have ever known”.
Lisa Marie Presley’s death was a tragic loss for her family, friends and fans. She was a beautiful soul who touched many lives with her music and her kindness. She will always be remembered as the daughter of Elvis Presley, but also as a unique and talented artist in her own right. Rest in peace, Lisa Marie Presley. You are missed.