Lisa Marie Presley’s cause of death came as a shock to many of her friends.
Last week, it was revealed that the only child of Elvis Presley died of a bowel obstruction, according to the Los Angeles County medical examiner.
The obstruction was a result of adhesions caused by weight-loss surgery she underwent several years ago, according to the report.
But Lisa Marie, who was 54 at the time of her death in January, had never been dangerously overweight, a former friend told Page Six, adding: “When did you ever see Lisa look as if she needed bariatric surgery?
“She was not big at all. I don’t know what kind of doctor would perform this surgery on her.”
Friends knew that Lisa would have regular tweaks like Botox and other injectables and minor cosmetic procedures.
But they said they knew nothing about her bariatric surgery.
In the months leading up to her death, Lisa Marie was living a secluded life.
She was always a homebody, but became even more secluded following her beloved son Benjamin’s suicide in July 2020.
However, she did step out in public last year to promote Baz Luhrmann’s movie “Elvis” including one final appearance at the Golden Globes, two days before her death, where she looked extremely thin and had lost an obviously large amount of weight.
“She wanted to look her very best,” said the pal.
Jeffrey Augustine, a former Scientologist and private investigator, agreed with this. (Lisa Marie was raised in Scientology by her mother, Priscilla, but reportedly left the church in 2014 after a falling out with leader David Miscaviage.)
“She went on a crash diet to lose 40 pounds before showing up with Baz for the Elvis movie. She was having financial problems and she hoped the publicity from the film would bump up Elvis sales,” claimed Augustine, who was married to Karen de la Carriere, one of the church’s highest-ranking executives until she left in 2010.
De la Carriere worked with Lisa Marie one on one when Priscilla handed her over to the church for counseling at age 9.
“It’s well known that she and Priscilla didn’t get along,” Augustine told Page Six: “In fact I think there was a real animosity there and Lisa Marie resented living in her shadow as well as Elvis’. Lisa Marie always had issues with her weight.”
Still, he admitted, “The fact that she allegedly died from bariatric surgery really caught me by surprise.”
Lisa Marie was living with her ex-husband Danny Keough, the father of Benjamin and her actress daughter Riley Keough, at her house in Calabasas when she passed away.
Sources told Page Six that Lisa Marie was excited and about to start work on a book about grief, and had been inviting grieving parents who had also lost a child into her home.
She had been collaborating with grief expert David Kessler, who also worked with Ashley and Wynonna following the April 2022 suicide of their mother, country music star Naomi Judd.
Kessler met Lisa Marie after her son’s death, and said that the loss of Ben “inspired her to work toward becoming an advocate for those who are struggling with the heartbreak of grief.”
He wrote on Instagram following her death: “She wanted to talk to me, not because I was a grief expert, but because I was someone who also had a child die. It became an improbable friendship but that is how grief works.”
Kessler was actually with the star the weekend before her death at Graceland for her late father’s 86th birthday celebrations.
“She had countless invites for the weekend, but for her, there were only three important ones: being at her father’s birthday celebration, spending time at her son and father’s grave after the tours left Graceland, and meeting with a recently bereaved mother,” Kessler said.
“I watched how Lisa Marie tenderly talked to this heartbroken mother about what to expect in grief. That’s what interested her most these days, helping others in grief.”
At the time of her death, Lisa Marie was also dealing with a tense custody battle over her twin girls Finley and Harper with her fourth husband Michael Lockwood, which caused an immense amount of strain, friends said.
“She had her challenges but always faced them,” Kessler said: “She was in my grief educator program and many who met her and chatted with her had no idea who she was. To them, she was a mother, whose son had died and wanted to turn her pain into purpose.
“She co-led grief groups with me for the past two years at her home for other bereaved parents. We were planning on doing a podcast about grief together. Her family, love for music, maintaining her father’s legacy, and helping others became her priorities.”
At the Elvis event, Kessler added, “Saturday night we sat at the graves of her father and son. We talked about the heartbreak [Lisa Marie] grew up with and the more recent devastation of her son’s death. She showed me where she would be buried someday. I said ‘a long time from now’ … and she said, ‘Yes,I have so much to do.’”
Lisa Marie had been complaining of abdominal pain in the days before her death, sources said, and the autopsy noted she had suffered stomach pain hours before going into cardiac arrest at her home.
Danny Keough administered CPR, as did the paramedics, who initially found a pulse.
Presley was rushed to West Hills Hospital, where she again went into cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead hours later.
Lisa Marie had battled opioid addiction, but rumors that she had slipped back into drug use were denied by her reps.
The singer-songwriter did have “therapeutic” levels of oxycodone in her system at the time of her death, as well as the opioid buprenorphine — used to treat addiction — and the antipsychotic drug quetiapine, according to her autopsy report.
The autopsy noted that the drugs did not contribute to her death and there was “no evidence of injury or foul play,” adding that the “manner of death is deemed natural.”
A memorial service was held for Lisa Marie in January at Graceland, and she was laid to rest beside her son.
“I really liked Lisa Marie,” said Tony Ortega, a journalist who covers the Church of Scientology. “I thought that she had been brought up in almost impossible conditions as the child of a superstar then the complication of Scientology.”
The post Lisa Marie Presley friends shocked by secret weight-loss surgery that lead to her death appeared first on Page Six.