Lisa Marie Presley’s Cause of Death Revealed

Priscilla and Elvis Presley's daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, died at age 54 on Jan. 12 following a sudden hospitalization. Now, her cause of death has been shared.

By Lindsay Weinberg Jul 13, 2023 10:08 PMTags
Watch: Lisa Marie Presley's Cause of Death Revealed

More details are emerging about the tragic death of Elvis Presley's only child six months after her passing. 

Lisa Marie Presley died at age 54 on Jan. 12 following a medical emergency that required hospitalization, her mother Priscilla Presley previously shared. 

Now, her cause of death has been revealed as complications resulting from small bowel obstruction, according to records from the County of Los Angeles Medical-Examiner reviewed by E! News. 

Small bowel obstructions are blockages in the small intestine that can be caused by numerous factors including hernias, inflammatory disease or tumors, per the Cleveland Clinic.

In Lisa Marie's case, she suffered from "a strangulated small bowel" that was caused by "adhesions" that developed after she had bariatric surgery—a type of weight loss surgery that changes the digestive system—that was done years ago, according to an autopsy report obtained by NBC News on July 13. It stated that the medical issue is a known complication of the surgery.

Lisa Marie's cause of death has been ruled as natural.

On Jan. 12, Priscilla, 77, released a statement saying her daughter had been hospitalized and, hours later, shared news of Lisa Marie's death.

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"It is with a heavy heart that I must share the devastating news that my beautiful daughter Lisa Marie has left us," she told People Jan. 12. "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." 

Earlier in the day, a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesperson told Entertainment Tonight that she suffered a cardiac arrest at her home in Calabasas.

However, the medical examiner did not list any secondary factors and attributed her cause of death to sequelae of small bowel obstruction.

DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Shutterstock

The "Over Me" singer—born in Memphis in 1968, nine months after her parents' wedding—led a life of love and loss. Lisa Marie was just 9 years when The King of Rock and Roll died suddenly in 1977, following an apparent heart attack at age 42.

Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Throughout her life in the spotlight, Lisa Marie was married four times: to Danny Keough from 1988 to 1994, to Michael Jackson from 1994 to 1996, to Nicolas Cage from 2002 to 2004 and to Michael Lockwood from 2006 to 2016.

Nicolas Cage was among those to remember the musician after her passing, sharing in a statement to E! News on Jan. 13, "Lisa had the greatest laugh of anyone I ever met. She lit up every room, and I am heartbroken."

Frank Carroll/Sygma via Getty Images

She is survived by her daughter Riley Keough, 34, and her 15-year-old twins Harper and Finley. Her son Benjamin Keough died by suicide in 2020 at 27 years old, another tragedy for the iconic family that was felt deeply by Lisa Marie. 

"My and my three daughters' lives as we knew it were completely detonated and destroyed by his death. We live in this every. Single. Day," she shared in a 2022 essay for People. "Nothing, absolutely NOTHING takes away the pain, but finding support can sometimes help you feel a little bit less alone."

Todd Williamson/NBC/NBC via Getty Images

Before Benjamin's passing, Lisa Marie got candid about another difficult chapter of her life, sharing in the 2019 book The United States of Opioids that she became addicted to opioids and painkillers after her twins were born in 2008, per People

"As I write this, I think of my four children, who gave me the purpose to heal," she said, acknowledging "the countless parents who have lost children to opioids and other drugs."

Ultimately, when asked if the Presley name was truly both a hindrance and a help, she said she wouldn't trade it for anything. "It's only a hindrance in that I didn't ask for all the attention... I don't ask tabloids to chase me around every week," she told Playboy in 2003, the same year she released her own album. "But at the same time, I would never take back any part of who I am or where I came from. I would never want to be part of anything else."

The artist added, "I'm honored and proud of my family and my dad."

Eric Charbonneau/Shutterstock

Lisa Marie Presley was buried at the family home Graceland in Memphis, alongside her dad Elvis and her son Benjamin. 

At the funeral Jan. 22, Priscilla read a note aloud written by one of Lisa Marie's twin daughters, who have since graduated middle school. "I have no idea how to put my mother into words," the note read. "Truth is, there are too many. Lisa Marie Presley was an icon, a role model, a superhero to many people all over the world. But Mama was my icon, my role model, my superhero, in much more ways than one."

Her eldest daughter Riley also shared a letter, read out by her husband Ben Smith-Petersen. "I remember the way you would cuddle me," she wrote. "I remember you singing me and brother lullabies at night and how you'd lay with us until we fell asleep."

Riley's tribute touched on the love all the children received from Lisa Marie. "My sisters and brother are a product of your heart," she wrote. "I hope you finally know how loved you were here." 

Keep reading to see photos of Lisa Marie with her kids.

Pride and Joy

Lisa Marie Presley posed with her daughters—Riley Keough and twins Harper and Finley Lockwood—and son Benjamin Keough in this June 2019 photo. The singer wrote on Instagram, "Mama Lion with cubs."

Three Generations

Lisa Marie was joined by her daughters and mom Priscilla Presley at a handprint ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on June 21, 2022.

Source of Strength

Shortly after celebrating her 53rd birthday in February 2021, the singer posted a family photo with her girls alongside the caption: "Thank you for all of the overwhelming birthday wishes from everyone. Like everyday, I couldn't have made it through without these three by my side."

Together Always

In 2013, the musician rang in Easter with her kids and mom.

Family Day

Lisa Marie took Riley and Benjamin to the Hollywood premiere of Lilo and Stitch on June 16, 2002. The trio were accompanied by Lisa Marie's half-brother Navarone Garibaldi, who Priscilla shares with ex Marco Garibaldi.

Birthday Wish

The To Whom It May Concern artist was fêted by Finley and Harper on her 51st birthday in 2019. "Grateful to be happy, healthy and alive," Lisa Marie captioned a mother-daughter snap from the celebration. "And grateful for all of you."

Girls' Night Out

Lisa Marie was accompanied by her daughters at Elle's 24th annual Women in Hollywood celebration on October 16, 2017.

Snuggly Selfie

"Love of my life," Lisa Marie captioned a selfie with Benjamin on Oct. 14, 2015. "One of the contents of my heart."

Fur-ever Friends

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Lisa Marie shared that she and her twins were fostering puppies from a local shelter. "Exhausting but so rewarding," she wrote on March 23, 2020. "Be well.


Quality Time

While celebrating Benjamin's 21st birthday on Oct. 21, 2013, Lisa Marie snapped this mother-daughter selfie. She tweeted, "love it when were all together."


Tiny Dancers

"Incredible night at the Nutcracker ballet w my fave people in the world," Lisa Marie wrote in a December 2018 Instagram post. "Now it feels like Xmas."

Bedtime Story

Lisa Marie shared a sweet moment with her twins backstage at a tribute concert for Elvis Presley on Aug. 17, 2012. 

Presley Legacy

Lisa Marie and Riley unveiled a new Presley family exhibit at Graceland in August 2018. The "Lights Out" artist wrote on Instagram at the time, "Hope you all enjoy this little insight to my life."

Matching Tattoos

The singer got matching tattoos with Benjamin as a Mother's Day gift.

In July 2022, two years after her son's death, Lisa Marie explained the meaning behind design. "It's a Celtic eternity knot. Symbolizing that we will be connected eternally," she wrote on Instagram. "We carefully picked it to represent our eternal love and our eternal bond."


A Meal With Mom

Lisa Marie and her kids toasted with tea during a 2019 luncheon at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

Easter Sunday

The family got together for an Easter Sunday celebration in 2015.

Rock 'n Roll Royalty

Lisa Marie supported Riley's movie The Runaways at a Hollywood premiere party on March 11, 2010.

Movie Night

Lisa Marie and Benjamin enjoyed a night out at the London premiere of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 on November 11, 2010.

Glam Squad

In October 2018, Riley snapped a mirror selfie with her family at a backstage green room. Lisa Marie captioned the shot: "glamming it up with my loves for a special event!!!" 

Rock On

Riley and Lisa Marie walk the red carpet at a launch party for Commando: The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone on April 27, 2012 in West Hollywood, Calif.

Celebrating Elvis

Lisa Marie was accompanied by her mom and her two oldest kids at a ceremony commemorating what would've been dad Elvis' 75th birthday in 2010.

Making Memories

Lisa Marie and Benjamin were snapped hanging out with DJ Ashba in December 2012, with the matriarch calling it a "fun night."

Feeling the Love

"Had such a lovely Birthday this evening with my Family [and] Friends!" Lisa Marie tweeted in February 2018. "Thank You everyone for all the LOVE and Birthday wishes!!"

This story was updated July 13, 2023 at 5:45 p.m. PT with additional information from the autopsy obtained by NBC News.

(E! and NBC News are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)

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