On July 12th, Benjamin Keough—son of Lisa Marie Pressley and her ex-husband Danny Keough—died as a result of suicide at Lisa’s home in Calabasas, California. The 27-year-old’s tragic death was first reported by TMZ on Sunday, citing confirmation by a rep for the L.A. County Medical Examiner.
Roger Widynowski, manager for Lisa Marie’s Manager, confirmed Benjamin’s death in a statement to Associated Press:
“She is completely heartbroken, inconsolable and beyond devastated but trying to stay strong for her 11-year-old twins and her oldest daughter Riley,” Widynowski said. “She adored that boy. He was the love of her life.” – R. W
The family has not released any statements since Widynowski’s confirmation of Benjamins Death. Since learning the news, fans, friends, and other celebs have taken to social media to express their shared grief and offer support to Lisa Marie and her family.
Really sad today to hear of the death of Benjamin Keough, My heart goes out to @LisaPresley and her family at this devastating time 💔
— Liz Jones Goddess (@LizJonesGoddess) July 16, 2020
— Roy Orbison Jr (@Royorbisonjr) July 13, 2020
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Benjamin Storm, YOU. Always happy in the sun and water. And a laugh that made everyone happier. You gave love to anyone who needed it. You were wise like a thousand year old man, but silly as a 5 year old. You always said your favorite tarot card was the hermit, cause you could relate. You made the best jokes, and always broke the rules. You were my favorite person from the moment I met you. I wish we could’ve kept you forever Ben Ben. I hope you’re having all the delicious sushi in paradise💙words will never be enough
Known for his striking resemblance to his grandfather, Elvis Presley, Benjamin was Lisa Marie’s only son. His older sister, Riley, has pursued a successful career in acting. Benjamin, however, has mostly stayed out of the spotlight over the years. In 2009, it was announced that Benjamin signed a 5-million-dollar record deal with Universal, but no albums were released. In a social media post from 2015, Benjamin shared that he’d purchased Elvis’s peacock jumpsuit from a collector and that having it made him feel closer to his grandfather.
Brandon Howard, son of acclaimed R&B singer Miki Howard and life-long friend of Benjamin Keough, opened up to People Magazine about his friendship with Benjamin. In the interview, Howard discussed the pressure of trying to “live up” to a famous family name and how that pressure contributed to Benjamin’s ongoing struggles with depression.
“It’s a tough thing when you have a lot of pressure with your family and living up to a name and an image. It’s a lot of pressure. It’s almost like you’re pressured into having to be a musician, having to be an actor” – B. Howard
— B. HOWARD (@BHowardOfficial) July 13, 2020
Benjamin is the latest victim of a growing trend in mental health…the alarming and ever-rising and incredibly alarming rate of suicides among young men.
Can we PLEASE make it ok for men to reach out for help?? Suicide is the second leading cause of death among men below the age of 50. Too many people are losing the battle with depression in our country…We need to make it ok to ask for help #benjaminkeough @Active_Minds
— Kevin Finkler (@KevinFinklerNV) July 13, 2020
It’s unclear the role that the stress of being a “Presley,” a recent break-up, or even COVID-19 isolation may have played in Benjamin’s decision to take his life. There are conflicting reports from different media outlets regarding the events of that evening. Out of respect for Benjamin’s family, I’m not going to expand on those rumors. I will update this article with additional information if and when the family releases it.
Update: Riley Keough posted a heartfelt tribute to her brother Benjamin yesterday on Instagram. In the post, the actress expressed the heartache she feels now that her little brother is gone: “Mornings are the hardest. I forget you’re gone. I can’t cry because of the fear that I will never stop”
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Mornings are the hardest. I forget you’re gone. I can’t cry because of the fear that I will never stop. A pain that’s new to me. You. There are no words for you. Angel is the closest I could think of. Pure light. Baby brother. Best friend. Wild man. Intellectual. Witness to my life. Twin soul. Protector. Too sensitive for this harsh world. I hope you give me strength to endure the giant hole you’ve left in my heart. I hope you give me the strength to eat. I hope you’re cradled in love. I hope you feel my love. I hope you feel god. You are god. I can’t believe you’ve left me. Not you sweet Ben Ben. Anyone but you. I guess this is true heartbreak. I hope we meet again.