Elvis Presley's Grandson Always Helped His Friends Yet Hid That He Was Suicidal & Needed Help

Bettina Dizon
Jul 13, 2020
09:54 A.M.
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Elvis Presley’s grandson, Benjamin Keough, took his own life in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a close friend, the pressure of living up to the Presley family name contributed to his demise.

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Benjamin Keough was born into a famous family of entertainers. His parents, Lisa Marie Presley and Danny Keough, and grandfather, the King of Rock Elvis Presley, were all singers. 

Meanwhile, his sister Riley is an actress known for movies such as “American Honey,” “The Lodge,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and “Under the Silver Lake.” Naturally, the pressure to live up to their family’s name clouded Benjamin, and in 2020, he took his own life in Calabasas, California.

Elvis Presley, dressed in an orange open-neck shirt in the mid 1960s in a side by side photo with his late grandson, Benjamin Keough. | Source: Getty Images

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BENJAMIN’S DEATH

Benjamin passed away on July 12, 2020, at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to law enforcement, the 27-year-old was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound that took his life.

According to his close musician friend, Brandon Howard, a few things may have contributed to his decision to end his life. Howard said:

“Sometimes he struggled with depression, which is a serious thing with [the COVID-19 pandemic] and everything happening right now and everybody being locked in the house. [...] I wish I could have been there.”

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LIVING UP TO THE PRESLEY NAME

He added that living up to the Presley family name also contributed to Benjamin’s personal struggles. Although he tried to pursue a music career, he did not make it big in the industry. In 2009, Benjamin tried to imitate his grandfather when he reportedly signed a $5 million record deal with Universal Music. 

He was set to record up to five albums with them. However, no albums were released. In 2012, Lisa featured him in a music video for her rendition of Elvis’ 1954 song, “I Love You Because,” where he looked like the spitting image of Elvis. However, it wasn't the same success his family had accomplished. Howard said:

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“It’s kind of a tough thing when you have a lot of pressure with your family and living up to a name and an image. [...] It’s almost like you’re pressured into having to be a musician, having to be an actor.”

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BENJAMIN’S PERSONALITY

Despite choosing to end his life, Benjamin was a fantastic person. According to Howard, he was the type of friend who was there for others, especially during tough times. Apart from being a talented musician, he was also a sous chef and an inspiring person. 

“He was cool and very intelligent -- intelligent beyond his years. He was multi-faceted,” Howard added. "He was a very loving person as a brother.” Hearing about Benjamin’s death certainly came as a shock to his friends and family, especially to Lisa Marie.

According to the singer-songwriter’s manager, Roger Widynowski, Lisa Marie loved and adored her son. She could not believe that her boy was gone and had difficulty accepting it. Still, she is trying to stay strong for her youngest twins.

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LISA MARIE IS DEVASTATED

Months after his demise, Lisa Marie broke her silence on what had happened. On what would have been Benjamin’s 28th birthday, she posted a photo of her son alongside an emotional caption that started with how much she adored him.

In December 2020, Lisa Marie sold the Calabasas home her son died in and revealed that she had not stepped inside the house since Benjamin’s demise. 

She continued to write about the pain of having to live every day knowing he was no longer around and hoped that Benjamin would hold her hand through the difficult time.

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Lisa Marie Presley at the CMT Music Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on June 5, 2013, in Nashville, Tennessee | Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Similarly, Riley posted a slideshow of photos which included a snap of her with Benjamin and another one from when they were still children. Benjamin was undoubtedly a good son and brother.

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In an interview, Lisa Marie admitted, “Sometimes I am overwhelmed when I look at him.” The pair had a lovely bond, and in 2009, they got matching tattoos for Mother’s Day. On Twitter, she revealed what their joint tattoo was, saying it was “a Celtic eternity knot” that represented “eternal love and connection.”

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SELLING THEIR HOME

In December 2020, Lisa Marie sold the Calabasas home her son died in and revealed that she had not stepped inside the house since Benjamin’s demise. 

She initially bought the house for $1.8 million less than a year prior in March and later sold it for $2 million in an off-market deal.

The home sits on an 8,838 square-foot lot and boasts of five bedrooms and three bathrooms. It also has a pool, a patio, a hot tub, and breathtaking views.

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LISA MARIE’S CHILDREN

Aside from Benjamin and Riley, Lisa Marie has twin daughters, Finley Aaron Love and Harper Vivienne Anne, with her ex-husband, Michael Lockwood. Lisa Marie chooses to keep her girls out of the spotlight given their young age.

The girls are rarely seen outside, with little information revealed about them. However, their doting grandmother, Priscilla Presley, previously shared details about her grandkids. According to the King of Rock’s wife, they are smart and already well-versed with technological advances.

Despite Lisa Marie’s failed marriages, she was able to raise her kids to be independent and well-rounded individuals. She credits them as her reason for living.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org

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