Zuri Craig, 'America's Got Talent' Favorite and Tyler Perry Associate, Dead at 44

Fans of Tyler Perry's work are shocked at the death of Zuri Craig. The 44-year-old singer and actor gained national attention when he appeared alongside his bandmate and friend Jeffrey Lewis on America's Got Talent in 2015 a part of The Craig Lewis Band, but fans of Perry grew familiar with Craig's immense singing talent long before that. Perry reportedly saw a YouTube video of Craig singing alongside Lewis and hired them. Craig appeared in Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family and A Madea Christmas. His death was first spread on social media by Freddy O before his family confirmed the news in a statement on Craig's official ZoReMi Entertainment page. 

"It is with profound sadness that we announce the transition of our beloved son, brother, and friend, Zuri Craig," they wrote in part. "We thank you in advance for your prayers. Please honor our privacy at this unimaginable time of mourning." A cause of death has yet to be revealed publicly, but some speculate he passed from injuries sustained in a car accident on Oct. 21.

During their run on America's Got Talent, they effortlessly gave their original take on James Brown's "This Is a Man's World," and Mary J. Blige's "I'm Goin' Down." They placed 5th overall. Craig was known for his raspy tone with gospel influences. 

Outside of music, he worked on podcasts and other shows over the years. He was scheduled to produce a show in Atlanta, Soul Food Live, beginning Nov. 2022 and was heavily promoting it on social media at the time of his death. 

Rob Hatcher, owner of Social Lounge in Atlanta and celebrity influencer, shared his heartbreak over the death of his friend in a touching Instagram post. He wrote: "5 years ago, craig & lewis got on a plane and came to Cincinnati and celebrated my birthday with me… we made Media Take Out that year so we knew we were destined for Fame lol my heart is shattered in a million pieces! I know a lot of people but I'm very very close to very few. Zuri was one of those few! When I purchased my first home, before I could even start the remodeling I called Le and Zuri over and told them they had to bless my house with their voice and that they did! I have so many memories, from the Tyler Perry Call, the Oprah Call and so much more, I'm so glad God saw fit for me to be friends with the crazy guy for so many years! His unique style of singing and raspy voice made him stand out when he opened his mouth! I was a STAN for The Craig Lewis Band! I'm not ok but I'll be ok, I believe God makes no mistakes."

Gospel singer LeAndria Johnson, a friend of Craig, also shared a post. "R.I.P. my love," she captioned a photo of her and Craig with a purple heart emoji and teary-eyed emoji.