MEMPHIS, Tennessee (AP) — Fans Visited Graceland After Lisa Marie Presley’s Death were devastated by the loss of Elvis Presley’s only child, one of the icon’s last living touchstones, whose influence and meaning still resonates more than 45 years after his sudden death.
Lisa Marie Presley, 54, died Thursday, hours after being hospitalized in a medical emergency.
The singer-songwriter herself, Lisa Marie, did not live in Memphis, where she was born. But she made trips to the city for my father’s birthday celebration and to commemorate his death, which shocked the world when he was found dead at his Graceland home at the age of 42 on August 16, 1977. She had only been to Memphis last Sunday, the day her father would have celebrated his 88th birthday.
Angela Ferraro was among those who stopped at Graceland on Thursday night, where the trees on the front lawn were adorned with green and red lights. Fans took pictures and left flowers at the gate on this cold and windy evening.
Ferraro and her fiancé drove 25 minutes from Olive Branch, Mississippi, to pay their respects. Ferraro said she was a fan of Elvis and Lisa Marie’s music – the couple listened to Lisa Marie’s song “Lights Out” while driving north to Graceland.
“Elvis died young, and so did she. And her son, his passing was also very tragic,” said Ferraro, 32. “It’s hard and devastating.”
Lisa Marie became the sole heiress of the Elvis Presley Trust, which along with Elvis Presley Enterprises — managed Graceland and other assets until it sold its majority stake in 2005. She retained ownership of the mansion itself, the 13 acres around it, and items in the house. Her son is buried there along with his father and other members of the Presley family.
An Elvis Presley Enterprises representative told The Associated Press that the estate is in a trust that will benefit her children – she leaves behind three daughters, including actor Riley Keough. The attorney did not have details of the funeral or burial.
Lisa Marie was 9 years old when her father died. She was at Graceland at the time, and remembered him kissing her goodnight just hours before he died. When she saw him the next day, he was lying facedown in the bathroom.
“I just had a feeling,” she told Rolling Stone in 2003. “He wasn’t doing well. All I know is that I had it (a feeling) and it happened. I was obsessed with death at a very young age.”
Lisa Marie visited Graceland in 2012 to attend the opening of the new “Elvis Through His Daughter’s Eyes” exhibition, a personal look that included her baby booties – her birth, exactly nine months after Elvis and Priscilla Presley’s wedding, made international news – as a also her first gramophone and a small white fur coat.
While talking to the AP during this layover, she smiled as she remembered the time she spent with her dad. She said one of her favorite items was the wrench used to operate the golf cart, as it helped her remember when she was alone with her father driving around the neighborhood.
“That was my life,” she said. “I wore it everywhere. It was never far from me or not on my person when I was a kid. I haven’t seen him in 35 years.”
Kristen Sainato and her husband were visiting Memphis from Cleveland when she heard the news of Lisa Marie’s death on Thursday. She wore a black jacket with the famous lightning bolt TCB (an abbreviation for instant business, a motto by which Elvis lived) on the back, as she described meeting Lisa Marie at her father’s birthday celebration. Sainato placed a bouquet of flowers at the main gate of Graceland, where one of the two planes is named after Lisa Marie.
“It’s for Lisa,” she said.
She said that Lisa Marie Presley was one of the last contacts with her famous father.
“Everyone is shocked by this. Why? Why did it have to happen? Sainato said, wiping tears from his eyes as she stood in front of the stone wall that borders the museum converted into a house. “She deserved a long, happy life.”