Earlier this month, Priscilla Presley made the sad announcement that her daughter Lisa Marie Presley – the only child of Elvis Presley – had died. The 54-year-old singer suffered a cardiac arrest and was later pronounced dead in hospital. The star endured a tough life, beginning when she learned of her father’s death back in 1977. She was just nine-years-old at the time. And, although Elvis was The King of Rock and Roll to the world, he was nothing more than her daddy. Lisa Marie once looked back on her final words to her father before his death.
Elvis died on August 16, 1977, in Graceland. He was found in the afternoon after getting out of bed in the early hours of the morning and not returning. His fiancée at the time, Ginger Alden, discovered him in one of the bathrooms of his mansion in Memphis, Tennessee.
Lisa Marie’s bedroom was the room next door.
Looking back on that fateful day, she remembered she was up late, in the early hours of the morning, before her father discovered her.
“I don’t like talking about this,” she recalled in 2012. “It was August 16th, at 4am. I was supposed to be asleep, actually. He found me, you know.”
Elvis – who was mostly nocturnal at that point – comforted his daughter before telling her: “Go to bed.” Sat looking into his eyes, little Lisa Marie smiled and replied: “Okay.”
Lisa Marie remembered: “That was the last time I saw him alive,” before noting how Elvis kissed her goodnight, tucked her into bed, and left the room.
Lisa Marie awoke many hours later to sounds of chaos. “I knew something was wrong,” she said. “Because I was in my room which was right next to his bathroom. So I knew that something was very wrong. All the commotion and everything. I was a wreck.”
She described herself as a “mess” before adding: “I was also confused because I was so upset … The pandemonium that happened afterwards was a little bit confusing.”
Priscilla later described the events from her perspective, revealing that the young girl did not truly comprehend what had happened to her father.
Priscilla wrote in her memoir, Elvis and Me: “Lisa was outside on the lawn with a friend, riding around on the golf cart that her father had given her. At first, I was amazed that she was able to play at a time like this, but when I talked to her, I realised that the full impact of what happened hadn’t hit her yet. She’d seen the paramedics rushing Elvis away, and he was still at the hospital when I’d arrived, so Lisa was confused.”
Lisa Marie then asked Priscilla if her father really was “gone”.
Priscilla replied: “I was really at a loss for words. She was our child. It was difficult enough for me to believe and confront Elvis’s death myself. I just didn’t know how to tell her that she would never see her daddy again. I nodded, then took her into my arms. We hugged and then she ran out and started riding around in her golf cart again. But now I was glad she could play. I knew it was her way of avoiding reality.”
Two days later, on August 18, 1977, a funeral was held for Elvis at Graceland. Limousines lined the streets in honour of the star, and tens of thousands of friends, family and fans arrived to pay their respects. Lisa Marie didn’t leave Priscilla’s side during the entire heart-wrenching event.
Priscilla announced the death of Lisa Marie in a statement overnight. Previous reports claimed she had suffered a cardiac arrest and was in hospital. Priscilla confirmed in an Instagram post: “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 during this time. – Priscilla Presley.”
In a statement to People, Priscilla later confirmed: “It is with a heavy heart that I must share the devastating news that my beautiful daughter Lisa Marie has left us. 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.”