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Lisa Marie Presley spent her life in the spotlight

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Lisa Marie Presley's family, friends and fans are still in shock over her sudden death yesterday. The 54-year-old singer-songwriter was hospitalized after going into cardiac arrest at her California home. NPR's Mandalit del Barco has this remembrance of rock legend Elvis Presley's only child.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Just days ago, Lisa Marie Presley was at the Golden Globes, seated next to her mother Priscilla, watching as Austin Butler won a best actor award for portraying Elvis onscreen.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

AUSTIN BUTLER: Lisa Marie, Priscilla, I love you forever.

DEL BARCO: As he spoke, Lisa Marie Presley held her hand over her heart. Now fans and those closest to her seem equally as emotional about her death. In a statement, Priscilla called her daughter the most passionate, strong and loving woman I have ever known. Actor Nicolas Cage, one of her ex-husbands, wrote that he was heartbroken over the news. And the estate of another of her exes, Michael Jackson, wrote on Instagram that Michael had been comforted by Lisa Marie's generous love, concern and care during their time together. During and after their brief marriage, Presley had defended Jackson against sexual abuse allegations. Throughout her life, Presley was in the spotlight, making headlines for her struggles with drugs and for her celebrity marriages and divorces. She was first photographed as a baby, born exactly nine months after her parents wed.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DON'T CRY DADDY")

ELVIS PRESLEY: (Singing) Today I stumble from my bed with thunder crashing in my head.

DEL BARCO: Elvis and Priscilla Presley divorced when their daughter was 4 years old. He died when she was 9. Lisa Marie became his sole heir, managing his estate, including Graceland mansion. She told reporters her father influenced her entire life. She shared his brooding, hooded eyes and low, sultry voice.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DON'T CRY DADDY")

ELVIS PRESLEY AND LISA MARIE PRESLEY: (Singing) Daddy, daddy, please laugh again. Daddy, ride us on your back again. Oh, daddy, please don't cry.

DEL BARCO: She recorded this duet in 1997, mixing her voice with her late father's. Presley herself released three albums. She told ABC TV two years ago she had her father's rebel spirit.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LISA MARIE PRESLEY: The wild card factor is very much alive and well in this family and alive and well in me.

DEL BARCO: Presley was also public about her grief after one of her sons died by suicide. She was many things - a mother, a singer, a former Scientologist, a philanthropist and forever linked to the king of pop and the king of rock 'n' roll.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STORM AND GRACE")

L PRESLEY: (Singing) Your storm and your grace.

DEL BARCO: Mandalit del Barco, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF LISA MARIE PRESLEY SONG, "STORM AND GRACE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Alt.latino, and npr.org.
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