Austin Butler described himself as “completely shattered” after news that singer-songwriter Lisa Marie Presley had died.
News of Presley’s death was confirmed by NBC News on Jan. 12, just hours after reports that she was rushed from her home to the hospital.
Presley is the only child of rock ’n’ roll icon Elvis Presley, whom Butler portrayed in the 2022 biopic of his life called “Elvis,” directed by Baz Luhrmann and also starring Tom Hanks.
“My heart is completely shattered for Riley, Finley, Harper and Priscilla at the tragic and unexpected loss of Lisa Marie,” Butler said in a statement given to NBC News on Jan. 13. “I am eternally grateful for the time I was lucky enough to be near her bright light and will forever cherish the quiet moments we shared.”
Get Boston local news, weather forecasts, lifestyle and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Boston’s newsletters.
“Her warmth, her love and her authenticity will always be remembered,” he added.
Just days ago, Presley spoke about Butler’s portrayal of her father to Access Hollywood while attending the Golden Globes red carpet. Praising Butler, Presley said he “absolutely” nailed his performance.
“There (are) no words to describe it. It’s just so important, that movie, on so many levels, and I’m so proud of him and Baz,” she explained, adding that Butler “got all” of her late father’s mannerisms. “I don’t know how to describe them, but...all of his mannerisms. He absolutely nailed it.”
While accepting his award for best actor in a motion picture — drama for his role in “Elvis,” Butler expressed gratitude towards Presley and her mother, Priscilla Presley, who were also at the awards.
“Thank you for opening your hearts, your memories, your home to me. Lisa Marie, Priscilla. I love you forever,” he said.
During a roundtable interview for The Hollywood Reporter, Butler spoke about a conversation he had with Presley once filming for “Elvis” had wrapped.
“It hit home when I first met Lisa Marie. I didn’t meet her until after the film,” he explained. “She hugged me with tears in her eyes and she just said, 'Thank you.' And then she took me upstairs, and we went into his bedroom and just sat on his bed.”
Butler went on to share that his experience with the recently deceased Presley altered his perspective on how he’s been viewed by the fans and people who never knew him quite so intimately.
“When you realize that he’s this guy that has been either thought of as this icon God-like figure or people just see him as a Halloween costume, and then it dawns on you that he’s a father and he’s a son, and he’s a husband,” he said. “So that responsibility is so huge.”
This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY: