Anthony Riley was found dead in Philadelphia Friday. The singer, who appeared on NBC’s singing competition “The Voice,” was found in the basement of the apartment where he was staying. He appeared to have killed himself, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Before joining the reality show, Riley reportedly performed everywhere he could. He grew up in West Philadelphia with his grandmother, but when he moved in with his father, he discovered their mutual love of singing, according to NBC. He was a street performer and a singer at weddings and parties.
In 2007, the artist found himself in some legal trouble when he was charged with disorderly conduct for performing in Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia without a permit. The Inquirer reports that the charges were dropped and he filed a lawsuit against the city. Riley was awarded $27,500.
When discussing the charges, Riley said that he simply wanted to perform for people. “I've done nothing but sing all my life. That's where I get my joy from,” he told NPR in 2007.
Riley competed on “The Voice” earlier this year during Season 8. The 28-year-old sang James Brown’s “I Feel Good” and all four judges almost immediately turned around. The judges turn their chairs around to indicate that they want a singer on their team, and they battled it out for Riley.
“I got the fastest four-chair turnaround in the history of the show,” Riley told the show. “It was really shocking to see them turn around so fast because I thought like maybe the chairs malfunctioned or something.”
Riley joined Pharrell Williams’ team, but then left “The Voice” halfway through the competition during Knockout Rounds for “personal reasons.” There were various rumors about his reasons for leaving, but Riley eventually revealed that he had been struggling with drug addiction for two years.
“‘The Voice’ has been a really great source of support,” Riley told Philly.com earlier this year. “At the time, [being on the show] wasn't working for me and I felt like I needed to go, instead of taking on more responsibility than I could handle.”
While former coach Pharrell Williams has yet to speak out, NBC has released a statement on Riley's death. “We are sad over the passing of Anthony Riley,” a representative told The Hollywood Reporter. “We offer our deepest condolences to his friends and family during this very difficult time.”