It is with heavy hearts that we announce that Neal Boyd, an opera singer who won NBC's America's Got Talent and dabbled in Missouri politics, has died.
Scott County Coroner Scott Amick says Boyd died around 6 p.m. Sunday at his mother's house in Sikeston. He was 42.
Amick says Boyd had a number of medical problems, including heart failure, kidney failure and liver problems. He was seriously injured in a car crash in 2017.
In February, the singer opened up about the crash and his plans for the near future.
"It was a very, very, very bad wreck ... It's a very slow progress. I shattered a lot of bones, and shattered my hip, which has left me almost unable to use that leg for now," Boyd told the Southeast Missourian. "It's been difficult, because you can't get up on stage right now, you can't perform for the audiences and you can't really do too much recording or traveling."
He revealed that he was working on this "uplifting" third album, In Middle of it All, which was set to be released in 2019.
"Any time you're in a moment of struggle, God has a way of coming in and uplifting you," he said. "You have these 'down moments,' whether it be health or physical, like it is now, and it just feels like something great is about to happen once I get back on my feet and back in front of the audience again.
Boyd won the network TV show and its $1 million prize in 2008. He released the album My American Dream in 2009, and performed at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.
He released a holiday album titled My Christmas Wish in 2013.
Boyd also ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for a southeast Missouri House of Representatives seat, losing in the general election in 2012 and in the primary in 2014.
Despite losing, he still said "he would love to" continue dabbling in politics.
"You know, that's up in the air. It was really about the tone of politics at the time, and I don't see any opportunities right now to get involved again, but I would love to," Boyd added.
The former TV star's death is the third celebrity death that has occurred in under a week.
On Tuesday, iconic fashion designer Kate Spade was found dead of apparent suicide in her Manhattan apartment. The 55-year-old is survived by her 13-year-old daughter Frances Beatrix and husband, Andy Spade.
Mere days later, CNN reported the death of celebrity chef, author, and TV show host Anthony Bourdain, who also took his own life in a hotel room in France. The 61-year-old also leaves a daughter, 11-year-old Ariane, behind.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Boyd's family during this difficult time. May he rest in peace.