(NewsNation) — Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis’ 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.”
Presley’s sudden death left her friends, fans and those in the media who covered her with feelings of devastation, shock and sadness.
“Literally 48 hours ago, she was on screens around the world,” said Sam Rubin, an entertainment reporter for NewsNation affiliate KTLA. Presley was in attendance at the Golden Globes ceremony Tuesday.
Much of her life was filled with tragedy and hardship, beginning with the death of her father when she was 9 years old. She struggled with drugs and some very public marriages — her four husbands included Michael Jackson and Nicolas Cage.
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.”
“She’s had a tough life,” entertainment reporter Josh McBride said.
Wayne Scot Lukas, a Hollywood stylist for Janet Jackson, was “devastated” to hear of Presley’s death. He met Presley when she was best friends with Kevyn Aucoin, a makeup artist who did up Presley as Marilyn Monroe for his book “Making Faces.”
“Lisa Marie is a special person, and special people come in this world once in a while and sprinkle fairy dust on all of us and then they leave, and we’re all better for it,” Lukas said. “I wish they could stay longer, but the magic people seem to leave too soon.”
Presley most recently appeared at the Golden Globes, where Lukas said she did not appear to be well.
“I didn’t recognize the person I saw on TV the other night,” he said. He reached out to Janet Jackson to inquire about the health of Presley shortly before she died.
While many might describe Presley’s life as a tragic one, Dana Kennedy, a writer for the New York Post, called Presley “truly heroic” for showing strength in the face of hardship.
“She really tried, and she had beautiful moments in her life and fantastic achievements, as well,” Kennedy said. “She just didn’t really get a break, but she kept on fighting. She was a tough cookie.”
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.
Lisa Marie Presley is a former Scientologist — her son was born in 1992 under guidelines set by Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, according to an AP story at the time — but later broke with Scientology.
Actress Leah Remini, who was formerly also a Scientologist, offered condolences on Twitter.
“I’m heartbroken over the passing of Lisa Marie Presley,” she said. “Lisa did not have an easy life, as some might think. May she be at peace, resting with her son and father now. Her mom Priscilla and her three daughters, Riley, Finley, and Harper, are in my prayers.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.