The only grandson of Elvis Presley, Benjamin Keough, who was the image of The King, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the age of 27.
Benjamin Keough died on July 12, 2020. A funeral service was held for Benjamin in Malibu in late July 2020. Like The King, Ben’s family requested to see him once more, so young Benjamin had an open casket.
Though Ben grew up in a hyper-privileged environment, with Elvis as his grandfather and Micheal Jackson as a stepfather, Benjamin’s life was short but not sweet.
Sources close to Benjamin claim he struggled before his suicide as he was in and out of rehab.
The King of Rock’s grandson allegedly did not like that he was raised in the Church of Scientology, nor was he able to handle the uncanny resemblance to his late grandfather.
There are also rumors about his untreated mental health issues.
Unlike his older sister Riley Keough, a successful actress, young Benjamin did not find his place among Hollywood’s legacies.
Benjamin Keough Grew Up In Unconventional Circumstances
Lisa Marie Presley, the only child of The King, married Danny Keough in 1988 after four years of dating under the radar. The couple met in the Church of Scientology Celebrity Center.
Danny Keough, a musician, and Lisa Marie had their first child, Riley Keough, in 1991. Their second, son Benjamin was born in 1992.
Though both parents tried to protect their children’s rights to privacy, there was no way to escape the Presley name, even more, when the couple split in 1994.
Just 20 days after the divorce was finalized, Lisa married Michal Jackson. It was a short marriage that lasted only 20 months. However, it was every tabloid’s dream come true.
The divorce announced in December 1995 was another treat for gossip columns.
After the highly publicized marriage to Micheal Jackson dubbed the Kind of Pop, the daughter of a man called King of Rock, Lisa married Nicolas Cage in 2000.
That marriage also lasted for two years, between 2000 and 2002.
With the regal last name, the famous American singer/actress had found her match, temporarily, in Michael Lockwood, an American guitarist and producer four years later.
The two married in 2006 and divorced in 2016. The couple has twins, Finley Aaron Love Lockwood and Harper Vivienne Ann Lockwood.
But, despite her marriages and divorces, Lisa Marie called her ex, Danny Keough, “best friend.”
After Benjamin Keough shot himself, the autopsy confirmed cocaine and alcohol were present in his system at the time of death.
The echoes of his grandfather’s substance abuse once again put Benjamin in the shadow of Elvis Presley. Despite being born almost 25 years after The King’s death, Ben was doomed to evoke his memory despite the circumstances.
Priscilla Presley’s grandson tried to live outside the celebrity bubble. Many expected him to break into the music industry. In 2013, Lisa stated that he’s doing “his own thing.”
“I’m going to let him decide when he wants to go out and do what he wants to do.”
At the time, some reports said that young Benjamin scored a $5 million record deal with Universal. However, Benjamin did not officially release any music.
Later, Universal representatives confirmed that this was untrue.
Lisa Marie was only nine when her father passed away, officially from a heart attack. Forty years later, she had to say goodbye to her only son. Though inconceivable, she knows she has three remaining daughters to think about.
Benjamin And Church Of Scientology
Scientology expert and critic Tony Ortega of The Underground Bunker wrote that in May that a source told him that Benjamin spoke against the Church, he was raised in:
“Ben had been talking about how f—ed up kids get in Scientology.”
Another source told The Underground Bunker:
“The important thing is that the entire family was shaped by Scientology, and it’s paying the price because of it.”
Benjamin tried to find help outside the Church, highly likely since his mom left it famously almost a decade ago. Yet, it is unclear when or if Benjamin ever truly left this Church.
He tried to live life as privately as possible, but even a sight of him would attract numerous fans of his grandfather. Benjamin was living in a shadow of a grandad he never met.
The Night Benjamin Keough Died
Benjamin, his girlfriend, Diana Pinto, and their friends were at his mom’s home in Calabasas. They were celebrating Pinto’s birthday.
At some point, Pinto noticed that Ben was missing. She tried to open the bathroom door and had to use a bobby pin because it was locked. Ben was unresponsive, and soon his death was declared a suicide.
TheSun wrote that Ben had a “history of depression” and was “known to abuse alcohol and use illicit drugs, cocaine,”
He went to rehab three times and only finished the program once. The last time he went to rehab was five months before his untimely death.
Despite all the signs others claim they saw, Benjamin never asked for treatment for his mental health.
A family member told The Sun that Ben felt lost:
“He was depressed, he didn’t really have an education, a job, or a passion, he was lost in life, and he has always been in his grandfather’s shadow.”
According to the official version of the events, a neighbor heard people partying at the property at 1 a.m. At 3:30, the same neighbor heard a woman screaming, while another neighbor told DailyMail that Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department deputies arrived around 6 a.m.
There was no suicide note, suggesting that he did not plan to kill himself that night. However, family sources claim that several months before, Ben tried to commit suicide. Other details remain private.
He left his parents devastated, especially as we know that Lisa Marie called him “love of my life.”
Ben’s older sister Riley described what the first year without her brother was like, saying, “a year of feeling like I was thrown into the ocean and couldn’t swim.”
Lisa Marie Presley And Benjamin Shared A Special Bond
Lisa Marie loved her son dearly, and since an early age, he was always closer to her than to his dad, unlike his sister Riley.
But, despite her success, she remains Elvis Presley’s daughter. For Benjamin, the added pressure was that he looked more like his grandfather than anyone else.
In an interview, Lisa revealed:
“Ben does look so much like Elvis. He was at the Opry and was the quiet storm behind the stage. Everybody turned around and looked when he was over there. Everybody was grabbing him for a photo because it is just uncanny.”
This media-created pressure and people’s curiosity reflected on Lisa, but it did not stop with her.
Her close relationship with her son, whose middle name was Storm, inspired the title track on her third album, Storm&Grace, from 2012.
Lisa Marie and Benjamin had matching tattoos, and he was living in her Californian home, where he eventually ended his life.
Before Presley reportedly left Scientology, she tried to pull her children out. Despite her messy love life, Lisa Marie tried to keep her children safe.
Ben was also close with his sister, Riley. Days after his death, she shared on Instagram:
“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.”
Riley tattooed her brother’s name only a couple of weeks after his passing. She wrote:
“Pure light. Baby brother. Best friend. Wild man. Intellectual. Witness to my life. Twin soul. Protector. Too sensitive for this harsh world.”
Lisa and Danny are reportedly living together, but they are not romantically involved. Instead, they are living every parent’s worst nightmare:
Benjamin Keough was buried at Graceland’s Meditation Garden, alongside his grandfather, great-grandmother Gladys Presley, great-grandfather Vernon Presley, and great-great-grandmother Minnie Mae Presley.