Opera singer Neal E. Boyd, winner of “America’s Got Talent” Season 3, died in Sikeston, Mo., on Sunday. He was 42.
Scott County Coroner Scott Amick confirmed the death to Variety, as well as the cause: heart failure, kidney failure, and liver disease.
One year ago, Boyd and his mother were involved in a serious car accident in Scott County, after running off the right side of the road, striking a tree.
The former insurance salesman-turned-opera singer won the 2008 competition, and the $1 million prize, after sharing with audiences — and judges David Hasselhoff, Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne (Jerry Springer was host) — the story of his impoverished upbringing, and love of singing.
“I didn’t realize we were poor until my mama told me I was, but we got through,” he said on the show. “It was my mom who really kept the family together… If it wasn’t for my mom, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to sing for the first time in first grade.”
Boyd released the album “My American Dream” in 2009, and performed at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., singing “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood. He also ran for a seat in the Southeast Missouri House of Representatives, though he was not victorious in 2012 or in the general election in 2014.