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January 13, 2023 12:07 pm
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Elvis Presley’s Only Child Lisa Marie, Who Had Jewish Roots, Dies at Age 54

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avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Lisa Marie Presley in 2014. Photo: David French via Wikimedia Commons.

Singer Lisa Marie Presley, the only child of the “King of Rock and Roll” Elvis Presley, died on Thursday at the age of 54 after suffering a cardiac arrest and being hospitalized earlier that day.

“It is with a heavy heart that I must share the devastating news that my beautiful daughter Lisa Marie has left us,” Priscilla Presley announced in a statement on Thursday night, according to Associated Press. “She was the most passionate, strong and loving woman I have ever known.”

Lisa Marie was born in 1968 and was four years old when Priscilla and Elvis, who had Jewish roots on his mother’s side, divorced in 1972. Lisa Marie was only nine when her father died in 1977 at the age of 42.

Priscilla confirmed in a statement on social media earlier on Thursday that her daughter was rushed to the hospital where she was “receiving the best care.” She added, “Please keep her and our family in your prayers. We feel the prayers from around the world, and ask for privacy during this time.”

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In 2003, she released her debut album To Whom It May Concern, which reached No. 5 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and was certified gold. Her next two albums were 2005’s Now What and Storm & Grace in 2012.

Lisa Marie was married four times, including to music icon Michael Jackson. She had a daughter, Riley Keough, and son, Benjamin Keough, with musician Danny Keough, whom she wed in 1988 and divorced in May 1994. Benjamin committed suicide at the age of 27. Her fourth marriage was in 2006 to her guitarist, music producer and director Michael Lockwood. Together they had twins Finley Aaron Love Lockwood and Harper Vivienne Ann Lockwood in 2007 before they divorced in 2016.

Following Lisa Marie’s death, her ex-husband, actor Nicholas Cage, said in a statement, “This is devastating news. Lisa had the greatest laugh of anyone I ever met. She lit up every room, and I am heartbroken. I find some solace believing she is reunited with her son Benjamin.”

Los Angeles County paramedics arrived at Lisa Marie’s Calabasas, Calif., home on Thursday morning following a report of a woman in full cardiac arrest, a spokesperson for the county’s fire department told the Associated Press. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement that paramedics performed CPR and “determined the patient had signs of life” before taking her to a nearby hospital.

Lisa Marie’s last public appearance was at the Golden Globes on Tuesday night, where actor Austin Butler received the award for best actor in a drama motion picture for playing her father in the Baz Luhrmann film Elvis. She called his performance “mind-blowing” during a red carpet interview with Entertainment Tonight. Days earlier she visited Elvis’ estate, the Memphis, Tennessee mansion Graceland, to celebrate her father’s birth anniversary on Jan. 8.

Elvis’ maternal great-great-grandmother Nancy Burdine was Jewish and the singer’s mother, Gladys, has a Star of David on her tombstone, according to The Jerusalem Post. He and his family once lived directly below the family of former Memphis Hebrew Academy principal Rabbi Alfred Fruchter and Elvis was their “Shabbat goy” — a non-Jew who performs tasks for observant Jews that they are forbidden to do themselves on Shabbat.

The Jailhouse Rock singer also donated to a number of Jewish organizations while he was alive and a plaque hanging in Graceland commemorates his donation to the Memphis Jewish Community Center, The Jerusalem Post reported. The publication added that Elvis was also often photographed wearing necklaces with a Star of David and chai (which is the Hebrew word for life) during the final years of his life.

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