Lisa Marie Presley, the singer-songwriter and only daughter of Elvis Presley, died in January at the age of 54, causing heartbreaking for her friends, family and fans.
Those wounds were reopened this week, after the release of Lisa Marie’s official cause of death: her friends say they were shocked to learn of a secret the singer kept from them that ultimately led to her death.
Lisa Marie Presley – death
In January, Presley was hospitalized after suffering cardiac arrest. According to TMZ, Presley’s housekeeper found her unresponsive in the bathroom. Her ex-husband, Danny Keough, performed CPR until paramedics arrived.
Her mother Priscilla later gave an update with the heartbreaking news that Lisa Marie had died: “She was the most passionate, strong and loving woman I have ever known,” Priscilla wrote at the time.
On Thursday, six months after her death, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner announced her official cause of death, revealing new details in her tragic death.
According to the report, her cause of death was a “sequelae of small bowel obstruction,” a blockage of the small intestine, the result of a weight loss surgery she underwent in 2020.
“The obstruction was in the form of a strangulated small bowel caused by adhesions that developed after bariatric surgery years ago. This is a known long-term complication of this type of surgery,” the report states.
The report added that her death was “natural” and there was “no evidence of injury or foul play.” It also ruled out a possible opioid overdose, as had been speculated.
Friends shocked by surgery
Still, the report came as a shock to many of Presley’s friends, who had no idea she underwent the weight loss surgery and wondered why she even received one.
“When did you ever see Lisa look as if she needed bariatric surgery?” one friend told Page Six. “She was not big at all. I don’t know what kind of doctor would perform this surgery on her.”
Bariatric surgery is often used to treat obesity, and can involve a gastric band or gastric bypass, but the procedure carries risks that Presley should’ve been aware of, experts say.
“Not sure what op she had but sounds like a gastric bypass maybe,” bariatric surgeon Sam Mehta told The Mirror. “There’s a risk of developing an internal hernia with this operation and yes she should have been warned prior to surgery.”
The coroner’s report stated that Presley was feverish, nauseated and vomiting for months before her death, though she did not seek help, according to People.
Presley “always had issues with her weight,” said Jeffrey Augustine, who knew Presley through her former affiliation with Scientology, telling Page Six that Presley went on a crash diet to lose 40 pounds before the premiere of the film Elvis, and saying she struggled with living in her parents’ shadow.
“The fact that she allegedly died from bariatric surgery really caught me by surprise,” he added.
Weight loss drugs – health risks
Presley’s death comes at a time when the use of weight loss drugs are becoming more and more widespread in Hollywood, but experts say that people should be more aware of the health risks.
Plastic surgeon Dr. Terry Bubrow told TMZ that many patients who underwent bariatric surgery use drugs like Ozempic afterwards to lose more weight. It isn’t known yet if Presley was on any Ozempic-type drugs, but Bubrow suspects it could have been a cause and urges others to have caution.
“Recent studies have shown that if you’re on Ozempic type drugs, they can slow down your intestines, they can predispose you to intestinal obstruction, and there may be the perfect unfortunate storm of previous surgery with intestinal scarring, opioid use so you can’t tell that you’re that sick, and further slowing of the intestines by the use of these miracle weight loss drugs that virtually everyone is on in Hollywood,” he told TMZ.
“Nobody’s talking about this right now – but we need to talk about it,” he added.
Lisa Marie Presley had an often troubled personal life, which often played out in the tabloids. She suffered a devastating personal loss in July 2020 when her son Benjamin Keough died by suicide.
She was the sole heir to Elvis’ estate, which she inherited in 1993, including Graceland. She owned 15 percent of Elvis Presley Enterprises. Though Lisa Marie was only a child when her superstar father died, they enjoyed a close relationship. Elvis named his private jet the Lisa Marie after her.
Additionally she followed in her father’s footsteps with her own music career, and released three albums. A mother of four, she is survived by her daughter, actress Riley Keough, and 14-year-old twins Finley and Harper.
Lisa Marie Presley’s death is so tragic — our hearts continue to be with her friends and family. We hope her story sheds light on the health risks involved with weight loss procedures.
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