Anthony Riley, a street performer who was featured on The Voice this past January, was found dead on Friday, June 5, from a suspected suicide, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. He was 28.
According to close family friend Tootsie Iovine, the singing sensation was found in the basement of an apartment in downtown Philadelphia where he was staying.
Riley, who spent the last decade performing on the streets of heavily populated areas of Philadelphia's Center City, made his way into the spotlight this past January, when he tried out for NBC's smash reality competition series. It was there that his talent was immediately showcased and appreciated by the show's judges Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, and Pharrell Williams.
Riley took to the stage to sing James Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)." Within seconds of Riley belting out the tune, all four judges turned their chairs, making him the fastest contestant to ever be selected by the superstar quartet.
Ultimately, Riley chose to be coached by "Happy" hit maker Williams. The promising talent went on to win the first battle of the NBC show when he told producers that he had been struggling with substance abuse issues. Riley left the show to enter rehab back in Philly.
Riley told the Inquirer this past March of his choice: "It's tough, because everyone's just finding out and I've been moving forward."
The late talent's older sister Halima Miley told the Inquirer on Saturday that the family would make his memorial public. "Everybody knew him," she said of her brother's local fame. "He couldn't walk two steps without someone saying, 'Anthony, how you doin'?'"
If you or someone you know is struggling, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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