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The Villages
Friday, February 3, 2023

Lisa Marie Presley was born famous but had hard life

Dr. Gabe Mirkin

Lisa Marie Presley was the only child of Elvis Presley, the most dominant singer of all time, and actress Priscilla Presley. Lisa Marie wrote and recorded three albums, including a gold certified album in 2003, and was eventually the sole heir of Elvis’s fabulous wealth and Graceland estate. However, her hard life, early sexual abuse, drug use, yoyo dieting and four marriages took their toll on her health and she died when her heart stopped beating at age 54.

Her Hard Life
Lisa Marie was born in 1968 to Elvis and Priscilla Presley in Memphis, Tennessee, nine months after her parents’ wedding. When she was four years old her parents divorced, so she spent most of her childhood bouncing between her mother in Los Angeles and her father at Graceland in Memphis. When she was nine, her father died and she inherited part of his enormous estate. Her mother started dating actor Michael Edwards, and Lisa Marie later said that he sexually abused her. She was difficult to control and started using drugs, so her mother sent her to a series of private schools. Lisa Marie described herself as “kind of a loner, a melancholy and strange child. I had a real self-destructive mode for a while, I never really fit into school. I didn’t really have any direction.”

In 2001, when she was 26, she helped to set up The Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation (EPCF) that provided homeless families with rent-free housing, child day care, career and financial counseling and family management guidance to help them attain financial independence. The EPCF also provided college scholarships.

Lisa Marie Presley
Lisa Marie Presley

Her first album was released when she was 35, and it became a gold best seller. Her second and third albums, released at ages 38 and 44, also sold well. In 1997, for the 20th anniversary of her father’s death, she released “Don’t Cry Daddy,” sung as a duet with Elvis using a track that he had recorded before his death.
Personal Life
• At age 20, she married musician Danny Keough and they had a daughter, Riley Keough, who became an actress and model, and a son, Benjamin Keough, who committed suicide at age 27.
• In 1994, at age 26, she divorced Danny Keough and 20 days later she married Michael Jackson. She first met Jackson when she was seven years old. When she was still married to Keough, she rushed to support Michael Jackson when he was accused of child molestation and was heavily addicted to drugs. She persuaded him to pay to settle the abuse claims out of court and get medical help to get off drugs. After two years of marriage to Jackson, she filed for divorce. For the next four years she and Jackson attempted to reconcile, but did not remarry. She told reporters that she was devastated when Jackson died in 2009, even though they had been divorced for 13 years.
• In 1998, at age 30, she was engaged to musician John Oszajca but cancelled the engagement after meeting Nicolas Cage at a party.
• She married Nicolas Cage in August 2002, but Cage filed for divorce four months later.
• When she was 37, Danny Keough was living in the guest house on her estate and she told reporters that they were planning to remarry. He had continued to be a bass guitar player in her band.
• At age 38, she married Michael Lockwood, her band’s guitarist, music producer, and director. Danny Keough was best man at the wedding. At age 40, she gave birth to twin girls, Harper Vivienne Ann Lockwood and Finley Aaron Love Lockwood. At age 48, she began proceedings to divorce him, and the divorce was finalized five years later.

Health Issues and Death from Cardiac Arrest
At age 54, she died when her heart stopped beating. Two days before her death, she had attended the 80th Golden Globe Awards with her mother. Cardiac arrest means an irregular heartbeat in which her heart stopped pumping blood through her body. Anything that damages the heart can interfere with the electrical beat that starts in the upper part of the heart and travels down the heart, causing it to contract from top to bottom. The same risk factors for a heart attack also can damage the heart muscle to cause irregular heartbeats.

Lisa Marie had repeatedly gained and lost weight, and she told reporters that she knew that being rich and famous does not guarantee a long life. She said her father “passed away at the age of 42, grossly overweight and dependent on prescription drugs,” and she did not want to follow the same path. At age 46, she had lost weight and weighed in at 118 pounds, the same as she did when she was a teenager. In her forties, she tried to follow an organic diet and cut down her portion sizes. A few years before her death, she ballooned up to about 250 pounds, and used a mobility scooter to get around. By the time of her public appearances in the weeks before her death, she had lost the excess weight.

Every time you lose weight, you lose both fat and muscle, but when you regain lost weight, you gain mostly fat, so with every rise or drop in weight, you are fatter than you were previously. Having excess fat in your liver causes high blood sugar levels, a condition that affects more than 50 percent of North Americans. When blood sugar levels rise, your pancreas releases insulin into your bloodstream. Insulin drives sugar from your bloodstream into your liver. When your blood sugar level drops too low, your liver releases sugar from its cells into the bloodstream. However, when you have a fatty liver, your liver cannot accept sugar from your bloodstream. Instead it releases sugar from its cells to raise blood sugar levels even higher. High blood sugar levels can cause dementia, heart attacks, arteriosclerosis, strokes and all of the other consequences of diabetes. Excess fat also causes osteoarthritis, which would explain why she needed a mobility scooter.
Lessons from Lisa Marie Presley’s Young Death
Repeatedly gaining and losing weight markedly increases risk for Type II diabetes and heart disease. It fills up your liver with fat, that prevents your body from responding to insulin and increases risk for heart attacks and premature death. I recommend following an anti-inflammatory diet and eliminating all of the known sources of inflammation that you can control with your lifestyle.  You will be helping to protect yourself from heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and the many other debilitating diseases and conditions that are linked to inflammation.

Dr. Gabe Mirkin is a Villager. Learn more at www.drmirkin.com

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