America's Got Talent has seen dozens of acts go on to live the lives of their dreams after appearing on NBC's competition. Unfortunately, one of the show's early winners, opera singer Neal E. Boyd, is no longer with us. The singer, who won Season 3 of the talent show, died Sunday at the age of 42 in Sikeston, Missouri.
Boyd died at his mother's home in Sikeston at around 6:26 p.m. Sunday night. By the time EMS technicians finally arrived at the residence, he had already passed away. According to Scott County Coroner, Scott Amick, Boyd's many health issues are what led to his death. Amick, who spoke with People magazine, noted that the late singer suffered from "some liver disease," as well as kidney failure and heart failure, and that many of his health issues were related to his weight. He also said that no autopsy was needed, due to the history of Boyd's overall health.
Neal E. Boyd was crowned the winner of America's Got Talent in 2008, for the show's third season. The former insurance salesman's win was considered a bit of an upset at the time, with many believing that America would vote a violin duo as the champion. But, the opera singer walked away victorious; a million dollars richer and with a long-dreamed-of career in music ahead of him, which included a headlining show in Las Vegas. He was even treated to a surprise message of congratulations from his idol, tenor Placido Domingo.
While Boyd didn't go on to become a household name, he did enjoy success as an opera singer and the opportunities that came along with it. In 2009, he released his first album, My American Dream, which debuted at Number 3 on Billboard's Top Classical Albums chart. A few months later, in 2010, Boyd performed for President Barack Obama during his visit to Missouri, and Boyd also sang for Presidents George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush on different occasions.
A proud Missourian, Neal E. Boyd ran for a seat in the Missouri House of Representatives twice, in 2012 and 2014, but lost each time. Because of his love for performing at various prominent state events, Boyd was actually known among state and local officials as "The Voice of Missouri."
Early 2017 saw Boyd take another blow to his health when he was involved in a serious car accident. In February 2018, he spoke about the long road to recovery with the Southeast Missourian, saying that the accident left him with a lot of shattered bones, including his hip, which meant he was almost unable to use one of his legs for an extended period of time. As he recovered, he worked on his third album, In the Middle of it All, and was looking to release it sometime in 2019.
Neal E. Boyd's talent will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family at this difficult time.
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