The Voice contestant Anthony Riley, who thrilled audiences with his rendition of James Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)," was found dead on Friday (June 5), reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. He was 28.
The well-known street performer, who was mentored by Pharrell on the singing competition series, The Voice, is suspected to have committed suicide after years of drug and alcohol addiction. According to close family friend Tootsie Iovine, Riley was found in the basement of an apartment in downtown Philadelphia where he was staying.
Riley made a splash during his audition for the NBC program this past January, when he became the fastest contestant to ever be selected by the judges. In fact, all four of the show's judges — Pharrell, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera — vied for the chance to mentor him, with the "Happy" singer winning out.
Together, Riley and Pharrell won the first battle, but the singer then confided in producers that he had been struggling with substance abuse and left the show to enter rehab back in Philly. "It's tough, because everyone's just finding out and I've been moving forward," he told the Inquirer in March.
A public memorial has been set up for Riley, at his family's request. "Everybody knew him," Halima Riley said of her brother, who had been entertaining crowds in Philadelphia's busy metros for over a decade (he was even awared Best Street Performer of 2014 by Philadelphia Magazine), and picked up first place at Amatuer Night at the Apollo in July 2014. "He couldn't walk two steps without someone saying, 'Anthony, how you doin'?'"
Our condolences go out to Riley's family and fans.
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(Photo: Tyler Golden/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)