The Voice Contestants You May Not Know Died
Much like the critically acclaimed “American Idol” competition, NBC’s hit series, “The Voice,” has introduced viewers to several talented artists. Vocalists from across the country audition to compete against one another to win the season and fulfill their dreams of becoming international superstars. Along the way, the hopeful contestants receive coaching from household names in the music industry. Winners of the competition also get the opportunity to kickstart their professional music careers.
Although everyone may not make it to the finals, there are plenty of contestants who found success after appearing on the show, such as Tessanne Chin (season 5) and Chevel Shepherd (season 15). Sadly for some cast members, their lives were cut short after appearing on the show. From health complications to tragic murders, we’ve lost a number of former “The Voice” stars in recent years. Keep scrolling as we commemorate the lives of these aspiring artists who are gone too soon.
Anthony Riley (Season 8)
It’s not often that all four of the judges of “The Voice” turn for a contestant. On the other hand, for season eight contestant Anthony Riley, he earned the fastest four-chair turn in the series’ history with his cover of James Brown’s “I Feel Good” for his blind audition. The Philadelphia native joined Pharrell Williams’ team, and went on to win the first competition.
The singer voluntarily left the show due to “personal reasons,” per Yahoo! News. It was later revealed that Riley dropped out to enter a two-week rehab program for substance abuse. He told Philly.com at the time (via Yahoo!), “At the time, [The Voice] wasn’t working for me and I felt like I needed to go, instead of taking on more responsibility than I could handle.”
The coveted street performer died on June 6, 2015 at the age of 28. Riley died in an apparent suicide in his Philadelphia apartment, as reported by The Inquirer. An NBC rep told The Hollywood Reporter at the time, “We are sad over the passing of Anthony Riley. We offer our deepest condolences to his friends and family during this very difficult time.”
If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Christina Grimmie (Season 6)
Before becoming a contestant on “The Voice,” Christina Grimmie had already made a name for herself in the YouTube community. At a time where YouTube covers were relatively new and popular, Grimmie began posting cover videos in 2009. She garnered millions of views and subscribers, which ultimately led her to put out original music and even tour with Selena Gomez.
At 19-years-old, Grimmie appeared on season 6 “The Voice” in 2014, where she was part of Adam Levine’s team. She notably blew the audience away with her rendition of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.” Overall, the singer placed third after making it to the finals. Grimmie’s career wouldn’t end there. The award-winning artist briefly signed to Island Records, and even made her acting debut in 2016 romantic comedy, “The Matchbreaker.”
Grimmie tragically died on June 10, 2016 at the age of 22. After a show in Orlando, Fla., Grimmie met a few of her fans when 27-year-old Kevin James Loibl, a fan who was reportedly infatuated with the star, fatally shot her as she tried to greet him with a hug. After being tackled by Grimmie’s brother, the killer committed suicide. The singer died an hour later from four gunshot wounds. Gomez, Levine, and several of her “The Voice” co-stars paid tribute to Grimmie. Levine dedicated a performance to Grimmie on the show. “I miss her,” he said. “It is unfair that she’s not here.”
Beverly McClellan (Season 1)
On the first season of “The Voice,” we experienced the exceptional talents of Beverly McClellan. Before appearing on the show, McClellan was already an independent artist with five albums. As a contestant, she won over coaches Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera during her blind audition. She ultimately chose to join Aguilera’s team and easily became a fan favorite. She placed third overall in the finals.
After the show, McClellan released her sixth album titled “Fear Nothing,” based on a tattoo she got after finding out she would be a contestant on “The Voice.” McClellan died on Oct. 30, 2018 from complications with stage four endometrial cancer. She was 49 at the time. Her fellow Season 1 contestant, Nakia, tweeted his love for McClellan. He also shared a video of a performance together. “I am absolutely heartbroken,” he tweeted. “Truly a unique soul with a beautiful heart, full of passion & an amazing talent.” McClellan is survived by her wife, Monique.
Janice Freeman (Season 13)
Janice Freeman commanded our attention on season 13 of “The Voice” with her powerful rendition of “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons. Freeman joined Miley Cyrus’ team and placed 11th before being eliminated. After the show, Freeman and Cyrus remained close friends. Freeman once revealed that Cyrus even helped her out financially, per People. “She found us placement until we found permanent housing, gave me the deposit, covered me for 6 months so I can get on my feet,” Freeman tweeted in 2018. “@MileyCyrus you are one of my closest friends and what you did for me and my family Im praying GOD gives you the desire of your heart!”
On March 4, 2019, Freeman’s team released a statement announcing her death. According to the statement, the season 13 contestant died from complications of pneumonia and having a blood clot. Freeman was 33 years old at the time. She is survived by her husband and daughter.
Cyrus vowed to take care of Freeman’s daughter following her tragic death. “To hug you one more time @janicefreeman ….” Cyrus captioned a post in March 2019.
“I made a promise to you here on earth and will keep that promise as you watch from heaven,” she continued. “To take care of your precious little girl, my baby sister. To shine light on your husband and mother when days are dark! I love you.”
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