Earlier this week, we reported that Elvis Presley’s lookalike grandson Benjamin Keough tragically committed suicide over the weekend at the age of 27. Now, a friend of Keough’s is speaking out to reveal that the young man was struggling to live up to the pressures of the Presley family name.
Musician Brandon Howard told People magazine that Keough’s struggles with being a Presley “absolutely” contributed to his suicide.
“That kind of pressure is definitely a part of what happened,” Howard said of Keough, who was the son of Lisa Marie Presley.
“It’s a tough thing when you have a lot of pressure with your family and living up to a name and an image. It’s a lot of pressure,” Howard added. “It’s almost like you’re pressured into having to be a musician, having to be an actor. It was good for him to go around the world and discover himself and have his own friends. You never know what triggers it. You never know … It’s so random.”
He went on to say that he had been aware that Keough was battling depression.
“Sometimes he struggled with depression, which is a serious thing with (the current pandemic) and everything happening right now and everybody being locked in the house,” Howard said. “It takes a lot. I wish I could have been there.”
However, despite his battles with his inner demons, Keough was still a good friend.
“He has always been there for everybody,” Howard explained. “In any kind of situation, he would be the one who would come crash with you on the couch for weeks until you’re actually feeling better.”
He and Keough had been lifelong friends, as they met back in 1994 when Lisa Marie married Michael Jackson, whose father Joe had married Howard’s mother’s music career. Though Lisa Marie and Jackson divorced in 1996, the two had remained friends since then.
“As adults, we had a brotherhood and a kind of respect,” Howard said. “We always felt we are who we are and we just got to be the best we can for different people around us. He would be the one I talked to when a lot of stuff was going around about me and questions about who I am and where I come from.”
He described Keough as “an excellent chef,” and a “wonderful” person with “the craziest laugh.”
“I want people to know about his humility,” Howard said of him. “He wasn’t a spoiled kid. He was very humble, very giving, very loving, especially to his friends. It’s just wild. There’s nothing like this.”