Singer and winner of the third season of “America’s Got Talent”, Neal E. Boyd, passed away on June 10.
Scott County Coroner Scott Amick said it happened around 6 p.m. in Sikeston, Mo.
He cited health issues as the cause of his death.
The Sikeston native won the competition in 2008 and sign with a record label to which produced his 2009 album “My American Dream”.
Boyd died at the age of 42.
Boyd was reportedly at his mother’s house at the time of his passing.
Neal E. Boyd grew up in Sikeston, Missouri, the son of an African American man and a white woman. Boyd and his brother were raised by their single mother in poverty. He discovered operatic music in junior high school when his older brother was doing a school project involving classical music and brought home a CD of the Three Tenors. Boyd was so enamored by the passion and skill of the famous trio that he started learning to sing in Luciano Pavarotti’s and Plácido Domingo’s operatic styles. Boyd graduated from Sikeston High School in May 1994, where he was senior class president.
He has a bachelor’s degree in speech communications from Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri (May 2001), a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri (May 2001) and a master’s degree in management from the online University of Phoenix. Boyd was president of the Student Senate at Southeast Missouri State University, where he was also a member of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. While in college, Boyd interned at the capitol in Jefferson City, Missouri.
He was the winner of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Vocal Collegiate Championship in 2000 while in the voice studio of Professor Ann Harrell of University of Missouri–Columbia. This national win led to his solo debut at New York City’s famed Carnegie Hall in March 2001.
After teaching music for the 2001–2002 school year in his hometown of Sikeston, Missouri, in 2002, he attended the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston to study opera. This led to a role as the slave “York” in Michael Ching’s World Premier Opera “Corps of Discovery, A Musical Journey,” commissioned by University of Missouri–Columbia.
In early 2017, Neal blacked out while driving, causing an accident that left him and his mother badly injured. They’d been slowly recovering since then.
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