'America's Got Talent' Winner Neal E. Boyd Dies at 42 From Heart Failure

Neal E. Boyd, the opera singer who won America's Got Talent in 2008, died Sunday, KFVS reports. TMZ reports that his cause of death was heart failure. He was 42.

(Photo: NBC)

The CBS News affiliate reports that Scott County Coroner Scott Amick said Boyd died around 6 p.m. at his mother's house in his hometown of Sikeston, Missouri. Amick told the news station that Boyd's cause of death was "health issues."

TMZ reports that no autopsy will be conducted in Boyd's death. He reportedly dealt with a health condition related to his heart in the past. Amick told Fox News that a wide array of health issues pertaining to Boyd's weight contributed to his death, including heart and kidney failure as well as liver disease.

Following his America's Got Talent victory in the NBC show's third season, Boyd recorded one album, My American Dream.

My American Dream reached No. 3 in the Top Classical Albums Chart, although it debuted at No. 195 on the Billboard 200 in its first week.

He also bagged the talent contest's $1 million prize as well as a Las Vegas residency at the time. Boyd's high-profile win was so iconic for his hometown that it constituted Sikeston to rebrand October 2008 as "Neal E. Boyd month."

Boyd's humble beginnings swayed the America's Got Talent fanbase to his side.

"I didn't realize we were poor until my mama told me I was, but we got through," he said on the show. "It was my mom who really kept the family together... If it wasn't for my mom, I wouldn't have had the confidence to sing for the first time in first grade."

Last year, he and his mother were reportedly badly injured in a car accident after he blacked out while driving.

The former insurance salesman ran for Missouri House of Representatives in 2012 as a Republican, ultimately losing out to Democratic incumbent Steve Hodges. He tried again in 2014 but lost in the primary election to Republican Don Rome.

"It was a very, very, very bad wreck," Boyd told the Southeast Missourian in February. "[Recovery is] a very slow progress. I shattered a lot of bones, and shattered my hip, which has left me almost unable to use that leg for now. It's been difficult, because you can't get up on stage right now, you can't perform for the audiences and you can't really do too much recording or traveling."

He also told the outlet that he was planning on releasing new music, an album called In the Middle of it All, in 2019, adding that it was "uplifting."


"Any time you're in a moment of struggle, God has a way of coming in and uplifting you," he said. "You have these 'down moments,' whether it be health or physical, like it is now, and it just feels like something great is about to happen once I get back on my feet and back in front of the audience again.

"You never know what's going to happen next. Just be grateful that you survived. When God's given you the time to rebuild your spirit and rebuild your body," the singer said.