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Alum Nolan Neal Dead At 41: A Former Competitor On “America’s Got Talent” and “The Voice”
It has been established what killed Nolan Neal, a former competitor on America’s Got Talent and The Voice.
The 41-year-old singer from Nashville, who appeared on AGT season 15 and The Voice season 11, passed away on July 18 at his home. The toxicology report concluded that Neal died as a result of “acute combination drug poisoning,” and the death was classified as accidental. (Page Six of the New York Post broke the story, and later reports from other media outlets have corroborated the details.)
Neal’s cousin Dylan Seals confirmed to TMZ at the time of the musician’s death that the singer was discovered dead in his apartment; a spokesperson from the Davidson County Medical Examiner’s office in Nashville confirmed to the outlet that the drugs found in Neal’s system included a deadly combination of morphine, methamphetamine, fentanyl, and acetyl fentanyl. According to Page Six’s reporting at the time, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department received a call about a “dead person” who turned out to be Neal.
A spokesperson for the department told the publication, “On the desk close to the bed was a black guitar pick that looked to have a powder residue.” According to reports, the victim had a problem with substance usage. Seals expressed his sadness to PEOPLE at the time of Neal’s death, saying that the musician “ultimately succumbed to his struggle with substance usage.”
This was a subject that he never tried to hide from, Seals said; quite the contrary. Neal told WBIR in July 2020, “I joined the rock band Hinder, they were all about drinking and partying. My heart goes out to his two children and his mother Cathy. He was a loving father and son. A light to all of us who knew him.”
“I went to a bar and ordered a drink while trying to conceal the fact,” he added. “I remember pretending to be normal. I was just lying to myself saying I could control it,” Neal said, recalling his initial rise to fame following his 2016 appearance on The Voice. Securing a seat on Adam Levine’s squad thanks to his rendition of “Drive” by Incubus at the audition, he was ultimately eliminated from the competition.
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Neal went on to appear in the 2020 season of America’s Got Talent, nearly four years after his initial audition. His original song “Lost” was his audition piece; he was eliminated in the Judges’ Choice round of the quarterfinals. Simon Cowell spoke out about Neal’s death many weeks after the tragedy, in an interview with PEOPLE.
Cowell, 62, says before Tuesday’s live AGT episodes, “Unfortunately, that occurs too much over the years.” When someone you’ve gotten to know and care about passes away suddenly, it’s always devastating. When faced with such a situation, “I’m thinking, ‘What can I say?'” he says. Unfortunately, that’s happened way too often, and every time it does, it’s a struggle.
Cowell said, “After the last three years, it’s been tough. And then, you think everything’s alright and then something hits you like a tale like that and it’s hard.” He was referencing the death of fellow AGT participant Nightbirde in February.
“But all I can say, what I’ve learned from this, is that you just take every day as it is and try to stay optimistic, you try to stay healthy,” he continues. And that’s the thing; you can never be ready for these days, as I was just saying to someone earlier.
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