Devastating Moments From Lisa Marie Presley's Funeral

The entertainment world was rocked by news of the tragic death of Lisa Marie Presley on January 12. The singer was just 54 when she died in a Los Angeles hospital after experiencing cardiac arrest. People reported that when first responders arrived at the scene, Lisa Marie was non-responsive. But, after performing CPR, paramedics managed to detect a faint pulse. Lisa Marie was immediately dispatched to the nearest hospital, but sadly, it was too late to save her.

Lisa Marie left behind three children in addition to her mother, Priscilla Presley. "It is with a heavy heart that I must share the devastating news that my beautiful daughter Lisa Marie has left us," Priscilla announced in a statement. Lisa Marie was 9 when her father, Elvis Presley, died in 1977, also from heart-related issues. The New York Times reported the 42-year-old rock 'n' roll legend's death was caused by cardiac arrhythmia. Priscilla and Elvis had divorced four years prior, but they'd remained close. She was devastated and heartbroken by her ex-husband's unexpected and untimely passing (via Today). However, the death of a child involves insurmountable levels of grief that no mother should have to face.

Still, that's exactly what Priscilla had to do on January 22 as Lisa Marie was laid to rest next to her father and son at the Graceland estate in Memphis, Tennessee. She gave a heartbreaking eulogy that was just one of the many devastating moments from Lisa Marie Presley's funeral.

Priscilla Presley's heartbreaking eulogy

Priscilla Presley eulogized Lisa Marie Presley on January 22 in front of a large crowd of friends, family, and members of the public. Lisa Marie's three children, Riley Keough, 33, and 14-year-old twins, Harper and Finley Lockwood, also watched on as their soft-spoken grieving grandmother related a poem, called "Old Soul," that was written by Harper in honor of her mom, per Detroit News. "In 1968, she entered our world, born tired, fragile, yet strong. She was delicate, but was filled with life," Priscilla read (via Billboard). "She always knew she wouldn't be here too long. Childhood passes by, with a glimpse of her green eye. She then grew a family of her own."  

"She knew it was close to the end. Survivor's guilt, some would say, but a broken heart is the doing of her death. Now she is home where she always belonged, but my heart is missing her love," Priscilla continued (via CNN). "Our heart is broken. Lisa, we love you," she added before exiting the stage. The last part of the poem appeared to be in reference to Lisa Marie's overwhelming grief following her son's tragic death at age 27.

E! News reported that Benjamin Keough took his own life in 2020. "[Lisa Marie] is completely heartbroken, inconsolable and beyond devastated but trying to stay strong," a rep announced. "She adored that boy. He was the love of her life," they concluded.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialling 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Riley Keough's tearful tribute

Lisa Marie Presley's oldest daughter also wrote a gut-wrenching homage to her mom. Riley Keough had intended to read it herself, but when it came down to it, she was too overcome with grief, so the actor's husband, Ben Smith Peterson, took to the stage to read his wife's letter. "Thank you for being my mother in this life," Riley's tribute read (via Us Weekly). "I'm eternally grateful ... Thank you for showing me that love is the only thing that matters in this life. I hope I can love my daughter the way you loved me."

She went on to recall the happiest memories she had of her time with her mother. "I remember you giving me baths as a baby, driving me in my car seat listening to Aretha Franklin," Riley wrote. "Taking me for ice cream after school in Florida." She said she still cherished the special and sweet moments when Lisa Marie would sing lullabies to Riley and her now-deceased little brother, Benjamin Keough, to soothe them at night and then snuggle into bed with the siblings until they finally fell asleep. "Thank you for showing me that love is the only thing that matters in this world," Riley ended the eulogy.

As Lisa Marie's firstborn, Riley had shared a special bond with her mom. Following her death, Riley took to Instagram to post a beautiful old black & white photo of her as a little girl, clutching a bouquet of flowers as Lisa Marie smiles broadly, while looking proudly at her daughter. She captioned the photo with a simple heart emoji.

Sarah Ferguson choking up while remembering her beloved sissy

At the beginning of the memorial, Joel Weinshanker shared that Lisa Marie Presley hadn't wanted any sadness during the proceedings. "Lisa we will try to honor you, try to honor your wishes," the movie producer vowed (via TMZ). However, there was absolutely no chance of that happening.

By the time Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, stepped up to speak, she was already battling back the tears as she remembered her close friend and "sister." According to Us Weekly, Sarah told the audience it was a great honor to speak at the memorial, sharing that she and Lisa Marie referred to each other as "sissy" because they were so close. Sarah evoked the memory of the UK's recently deceased monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, during her speech. "Sissy, this is for you with affection," she announced. "My late mother-in-law used to say that, 'Nothing [that] can be said can begin to take away the anguish and the pain of these moments because grief is the price we pay for love.' And how right she was."

Page Six reported that Sarah started her speech by insisting, "I think it's time to stoke our flames within ... to celebrate the extraordinary Lisa Marie." She later referenced the tragic death of Lisa Marie's son, Benjamin Keough. "We look to Lisa Marie [who] lost a son," the mother-of-two said. "Mothers losing children, there are no words for it."

Pastor Dwayne Hunt's prayer about the sorrow and darkness of grief

Pastor Dwayne Hunt delivered an emotion-packed invocation at Lisa Marie Presley's memorial while standing in front of a giant poster of the singer smiling with joy. Pastor Hunt shared a powerful prayer with the gathered mourners about dealing with the "sorrow" and "darkness" of grief.

"While her light has gone out, she leaves this light to her children and her mother so that they can rise above the darkness of this grief," the pastor began. "'Let them be strengthened by the presence of the many who have gathered today to share their sorrow. Even in this time of pain, we are grateful for the beautiful gift that was Lisa Marie." Pastor Hunt praised Elvis and Priscilla Presley's only daughter for "her passion, her strength, her brilliance and her tenaciousness." He beseeched the audience to allow their memories of Lisa Marie to "bring joy" into their hearts.

"'May we all experience your peace in our pain, your healing in our hurt, your light in our darkness, in the name of this place where we stand in Graceland reminds us to be thankful for the grace that gives us strength even in our weakness," he continued. "So, let immeasurable love abound in this place and make her peace abide in our hearts, Amen."

The poignant and moving musical performances

Given the Presley family's background, it was no surprise that music played a large and moving part during the memorial's proceedings. Lisa Marie Presley had followed in her famous father Elvis Presley's footsteps by forging a path in the entertainment world. People reported that Lisa Marie had "jumpstarted her own music career with a debut album in 2003." She followed it up by releasing two more albums during the next decade.

Many of Lisa Marie's industry friends and collaborators paid their respects by offering personal and heartfelt performances during the memorial. Billboard reported that Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan sang "To Sheila," while strumming an acoustic guitar. Also, Guns N' Roses lead singer Axl Rose played the piano during his rendition of "November Rain" and Alanis Morissette performed "Rest."

According to Deadline, there were also moving and powerful breaks from all of the modern pop and rock performances with some good old-fashioned gospel music. The Blackwood Brothers Quartet took to the stage to sing the hymn "How Great Thou Art," while Jason Clark and The Tennessee Mass Choir closed out the proceedings with a rousing rendition of "Amazing Grace," a hymn that Elvis famously recorded himself along with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1971. There wasn't a dry eye amongst the crowd.