- In an essay written before her death, Lisa Marie Presley said she blamed herself “every single day” for son Benjamin Keough’s death.
- Keough died by suicide in July 2020. His friends told People he had depression.
- Presley said her son reminded her so much of his grandfather Elvis that it “actually scared” her.
Lisa Marie Presley said that she blamed herself “every single day” for her son Benjamin Keough’s death by suicide in July 2020.
In an essay written before her own January 2023 death, Presley wrote about how “painful” it is to be judged when a loved one dies in a “premature, unnatural, or tragic” way, especially if that loved one is your child. The essay was originally published in People in August 2022.
“I already battle with and beat myself up tirelessly and chronically, blaming myself every single day and that’s hard enough to now live with,” Presley wrote. “But others will judge and blame you too, even secretly or behind your back which is even more cruel and painful on top of everything else.”
Keough died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office told Fox News, in July 2020.
Days after his death, Keough’s friends spoke to People about his battle with depression and said he’d felt pressure from society to succeed in the entertainment industry because he was Elvis Presley’s grandson.
“Sometimes he struggled with depression, which is a serious thing with [the coronavirus pandemic] and everything happening right now and everybody being locked in the house,” Keough’s friend, musician Brandon Howard, told the magazine at the time.
Howard said he believed that the pressure of being part of the Presley family “absolutely” contributed to Keough’s depression.
“It’s a tough thing when you have a lot of pressure with your family and living up to a name and an image. It’s a lot of pressure. It’s almost like you’re pressured into having to be a musician, having to be an actor,” Howard said.
Keough, Presley’s oldest child with musician Danny Keough, was 27. His sister is actor Riley Keough. Presley also shares twin daughters, Harper Vivienne Ann Lockwood and Finley Aaron Love Lockwood, with her ex-husband, Michael Lockwood.
In her People essay, Presley highlighted the fact that parents who lose children are often labeled as “pariahs,” but she said she understood why grieving parents quickly become isolated.
“If I’m being honest, I can understand why people may want to avoid you once a terrible tragedy has struck. Especially a parent losing their child because it is truly your worst nightmare,” she wrote.
Presley said she wrote the essay to encourage people to talk about grief because it is an unavoidable part of life. She said she hoped her words triggered the reader to “reach out to someone who needs it right now.”
The singer described her son as the “sweetest and most incredible being that I have ever had the privilege of knowing.” She said that he reminded her so much of her father Elvis “on so many levels” that he “actually scared” her.
Presley died on January 12, 2023, after a suspected cardiac arrest.
“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, said in a statement. “She was the most passionate, strong, and loving woman I have ever known.”
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