Neal Boyd, the Missouri opera singer who impressed fans and won America’s Got Talent, has died. He was 42.
Boyd passed away Sunday evening at his mother’s house in Sikeston, Missouri, the local coroner told The Associated Press.
He had a series of health problems, including heart failure, kidney failure and liver problems, the coroner said. He was also badly injured in a car accident last year after striking a tree.
He won the third season of AGT in 2008 and the $1 million prize that accompanied the title. He signed a record deal after appearing on the NBC series and released his album, My American Dream, the following year.
On Monday afternoon, AGT posted a tribute to Boyd on Twitter.
“We are very saddened to hear that one of our AGT family members, Neal Boyd, has passed away,” the tweet said. “Our hearts are with Neal’s loved ones during this difficult time.”
We are very saddened to hear that one of our AGT family members, Neal Boyd, has passed away.
Our hearts are with Neal’s loved ones during this difficult time.
— America's Got Talent (@AGT) June 11, 2018
Boyd was born in 1975.
He faced many challenges as a child, growing up biracial and overweight in rural Missouri, according to his website.
“I grew up in a small town called Sikeston, Missouri. Financially, it was hard,” he told fans in his bio.
He said his dad left the family when he was a child, causing financial hardship.
“We did our best to stay together as a family, which wasn’t all that easy. My father left when we were very little. My mom was working all the time.”
He dedicated the track Mama on his album to his mother.
Despite those childhood struggles, everything changed when he discovered opera. He performed in school choirs, sang locally and went on to college.
After appearing AGT, he even performed for President Barack Obama in 2010.
His family is planning a private memorial service, an employee at Ponder Funeral Home in Sikeston told Urban Hollywood 411. The funeral home said it had received Boyd’s body and he was cremated.