News broke over the weekend that The Voice Season 8 contestant Anthony Riley has died. His death actually occurred earlier this week, but began to be apparent to the public via fansites like Rickey.org and later other outlets over the weekend. It was later revealed that the former contestant on NBC’s The Voice died of a suicide. He was only 28.
Riley is mostly known for being a recent contestant on The Voice, a contestant who wowed the judges on the NBC singing competition by belting out “I Got You (I Feel Good)” during his audition. The performance wowed all four of the judges during Season 8; they in fact all turned around to check out Riley within 15 seconds of the start of his performance. It was the fastest complete turnaround from the coaches panel in the history of The Voice. He later chose Pharrell Williams as his coach on the hit series. If you haven't seen it yet, it's certainly a performance that is worth a watch.
The man was clearly talented and was expected to go far in the competition. However, he ended up dropping out of the competition during an episode that aired in March, later revealing that his reason for leaving had to do with the drug addiction he had struggled with for years. The Voice prompted Riley to seek help, and he attended a rehab facility in Pennsylvania to address his problem. He later explained that he approached The Voice producers after his Battle Round was taped in January; Yahoo reports the network paid for his stint in the rehab facility, although the singing competition series has not confirmed. Riley had also noted he had no plans to return to The Voice.
Instead, The Philly reports the Philadelphia native had returned to his hometown in the months following his stint in rehab. He had apparently begun work on recording an album, but was still dealing with substance abuse problems. He ended up committing suicide on Tuesday night, but his body was not discovered until Friday morning.
In Philadelphia, Riley was mostly known for busking on the streets, adding a little joy to the lives of the people walking by. Unfortunately, he struggled with bringing that joy into his own life. Our thoughts go out to Riley’s family and friends during this tough time. If you do know anyone who is considering suicide, please speak up. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is only one phone call away. You can reach the organization at 1-800-273-8255.
Amazing Race & Top Chef superfan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.
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