On July 12, a rep for Lisa Marie Presley confirmed the tragic news that the singer's only son, Benjamin Keough — the grandson of Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley — was dead at 27.
Reports revealed that Benjamin, whose father is Lisa Marie's first husband, musician Danny Keough, died by suicide early that morning at a $1.8 million home in Calabasas, California. Lisa Marie, her rep said in a statement, was "entirely heartbroken, inconsolable and beyond devastated but trying to stay strong for her 11-year-old twins [Harper and Finley Lockwood] and her oldest daughter, Riley [Keough, 31]."
Despite coming from such a famous family, Benjamin has long stayed under the radar, only occasionally popping up on his mother's social media posts and attending public events with his relatives. But now new information and details about the young man — who bore a striking resemblance to his famous grandfather — have emerged on The Underground Bunker, a blog run by Scientology expert and critic Tony Ortega.
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Ortega explained in a July 13 post that many of his readers had reached out to ask if Benjamin had been, like other members of his family, a member of the Church of Scientology. Ortega reports that Benjamin had indeed — like his mother, father and actress older sister, Riley — been raised in the controversial religion that also counts stars like Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Danny Masterson and others among its ranks and stars like Leah Remini and filmmaker Paul Haggis among its defectors.
The Underground Bunker previously reported that Lisa Marie left Scientology in 2014 and pulled her family out. However, the blog also claims that Riley returned to the religion and that Priscilla previously said through representatives that she had not left the church, which The Underground Bunker disputes. It remains unclear if Lisa Marie has returned. According to Ortega, her ex-husband Danny remains a member.
According to The Underground Bunker, whose post about Benjamin was picked up by Page Six and other outlets, Ben was still a member in 2013, which is when he completed the faith's "Purification Rundown." However, a source close to the Presley family who'd known Ben since childhood told the blog that in recent years, the 27-year-old "was definitely out of Scientology and badmouthed it to his friends." In May, the source told The Underground Bunker, "Ben had been talking about how f—ed up kids get in Scientology."
This same source further told The Underground Bunker that Ben had struggled with alcohol and drugs. According to the source, Ben had "recently been in rehab" battling his addictions, Ortega wrote, explaining that it was not a Scientology treatment program.
Ben had been staying at his mother's home in Calabasas, the source further explained. The Underground Bunker reports that this is where Ben died and that Lisa Marie was not home at the time. On July 13, DailyMail.com reported that a neighbor heard people partying at the property at 1 a.m. and at 3:30 heard a woman screaming. Another neighbor told DailyMail.com that Los Angeles Sheriff's Department deputies arrived at the property around 6 a.m.
According to another source who spoke to The Underground Bunker, as far as the Presley family's faith was concerned, "The important thing is that the entire family was shaped by Scientology, and it's paying the price because of it."
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That source explained that Ben's death, and the manner in which he died, will be incredibly overwhelming for Lisa Marie, who herself has been open about her struggles with addiction in recent years. "Ben was her baby. More than Riley. More than the twins," the second source told Ortega. "This will be beyond inconceivable for her. I really worry that it might be too much for her."