Lisa Marie Presley has died today at the age of 54, after suffering a cardiac arrest at her California home.
Her mother, Priscilla Presley, 77, confirmed the heartbreaking news in a statement released to People magazine this afternoon.
“It is with a heavy heart that I must share the devastating news that my beautiful daughter Lisa Marie has left us,” her mother, Priscilla Presley, wrote.
“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.”
It comes after years marred with tragedy for the Presley family, including the devastating death of Lisa Marie’s son, Benjamin Keough, by suicide in 2020. He was 27 years old when he was found dead in the family’s Calabasas mansion, and Lisa Marie was said to be “inconsolable and beyond devastated” by the loss.
Lisa Marie’s ongoing money woes
Over the years, Lisa Marie’s messy financial struggles have also been widely reported, with the vast Presley fortune having dramatically dwindled since her father’s death in 1977, leaving her broke.
In 2018, Lisa Marie, who was a singer in her own right and released four albums throughout her life, claimed her former business manager squandered her entire share of Elvis’ $US100 million ($135 million) fortune she inherited when she turned 25.
In court documents, Lisa Marie alleged that Barry Siegel assured her that her finances were in “good shape” while he whittled her $US100 million ($135 million) trust down to just $US14,000 ($19,000) in poor investments.
In 2019, her mother Priscilla was forced to sell her Los Angeles mansion to help out her daughter with her mounting debts.
“Priscilla would never have done this if she didn’t believe it was her daughter’s last chance,” a source told Radar of the $US5.5 million sale at the time.
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But money troubles persisted for Presley, who married four times throughout her life, as divorce fees stacked up.
In 2020, days after losing her only son, the Daily Mail reported she may have to pay around $A250,000 in order to divorce fourth husband Michael Lockwood amid claims he was too poor to afford his own lawyer.
Musician Lockwood, 59, said in legal papers that his income had disappeared due to the coronavirus pandemic, and that his estranged wife should pay his legal fees based on Californian laws that require fairness in divorce proceedings.
He claimed spiralling legal fees have already left him more than $A1 million in debt, with his only source of income coming from royalty payments that “do not total even one tenth or one twentieth” of his ex’s income.
How the Elvis fortune left Lisa Marie in financial strife
However, her income may not have been enough to pull her out of these financial webs, due to the mess of her vast inheritance from her father.
Elvis Presley, who was known as a generous and free spender while he was alive, sadly left behind a cash-poor estate on his death, worth about $US5 million, according to Forbes, but with a mountain of debt.
While Priscilla Presley assumed management of the Elvis Presley Estate (EPE) after his death, helping grow its value to a reported $US100 million ($135 million) by turning Graceland into a tourist destination, Lisa Marie became eligible to inherit the money in 1993, when she turned 25, under Elvis’ Last Will and Testament.
Instead of receiving the Elvis Presley fortune, Lisa Marie appointed others to act as trustees over her inheritance, appointing business manager Barry Siegel as a co-trustee in 2003, to be the person primarily in charge of managing the trust assets as well as her own income, under a new trust.
According to Forbes, in 2005, Siegel decided to sell 85 per cent of Lisa Marie’s share in EPE, but instead of netting the full $US100 million ($135 million) for Lisa Marie’s Trust, the deal brought in only $US40 million after taxes, plus $US25 million worth of stock in the future holding company of American Idol.
Between 2005 and 2015, nearly all of this money was gone, and Lisa Marie was left deeply in debt.
In 2018, Lisa Marie Presley sued Barry Siegel and his financial company, Provident Financial Management, accusing Siegel and hiding the Trust’s true financial condition.
During the case, Lisa Marie pointed out that by the time Siegel stopped working with Presley in 2015, the Trust was left with only $14,000 cash and she owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes and other debt.
Lisa Marie’s shocking death
Presley was taken to Southern California’s West Hills hospital on Thursday, local time, after emergency services responded to a call that she had been found unresponsive in her bedroom.
Her ex-husband, Danny Keough – with whom she lived – had performed CPR until paramedics arrived at her Calabasas home. Medical professionals declared at the time that Presley had gone into “full arrest,” according to TMZ.
The publication reported that Presley was given adrenaline at the scene to help her regain a pulse. She was then transported to hospital, where she was placed on a life support machine.
Shortly after the news of Lisa Marie’s cardiac arrest broke, her mother, Priscilla Presley, 77, released a statement to People magazine asking for privacy.
“My beloved daughter Lisa Marie was rushed to the hospital. She is now receiving the best care. Please keep her and our family in your prayers. We feel the prayers from around the world and ask for privacy at this time,” she added.
Priscilla was later seen arriving to hospital.
Two days earlier, Lisa Marie and Priscilla had attended the Golden Globes in Los Angeles together in support of Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic, starring Golden Globe-winner Austin Butler as the king of rock’n’roll.
In a clip from the red carpet, Presley appeared unsteady on her feet while being interviewed, clutching onto a friend to steady herself.
Lisa Marie tried to maintain privacy throughout her life in the spotlight, though her rocky periods have made headlines over the years including drug use, multiple stints in rehab and financial struggles.
She was married four times, first to Danny Keough from 1988 to 1994. The pair welcomed two children, son Benjamin, who died in 2020 aged 27, and daughter Riley, 33.
The singer went on to have two high-profile marriages, including a two-year union with the late Michael Jackson until 1996, and US actor Nicolas Cage from 2002 until 2004.
Lisa Marie’s last marriage was to US guitarist Michael Lockwood, with the pair tying the knot in 2006 before divorcing in 2016. The couple had twin daughters, Finley and Harper Lockwood, in 2008.
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