Skilyr Hicks, former America’s Got Talent contestant, died Monday, Dec. 6, at age 23, TMZ reports. The singer-songwriter’s mom, Jodi, told the site that Hicks was found dead at a friend’s home in Liberty, S.C. She also shared that the young artist had struggled with mental health issues and substance abuse.
In the case report provided to Billboard by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, officer Dale Morgan noted that he arrived at the home to assist emergency medical services “on a possible overdose.” The report also indicated that Hicks was “dead on arrival” and “no transport.”
Her death is still an active investigation; toxicology reports are pending.
Hicks appeared on season 8 of NBC’s talent competition in 2013 when she was only 14. During her audition, she shared that she would be performing a song that she wrote in memory of her father, who died a few years earlier. “He made some bad decisions, and I hadn’t seen him in a few years,” she told judges Mel B, Heidi Klum, Howard Stern, and Howie Mandel at the time. “Last time I saw him, I remember driving away, and he was crying.”
“My heart is sad and filled with sorrow/ I know this hope for a better tomorrow/ Tell myself I will be all right/, But the tears keep coming there’s no way to fight,” she sang, strumming her guitar, as the studio audience cheered her on.
Hicks moved to the Las Vegas round, where she performed “Second Chance,” another original tune. “Music has brought me through a lot of difficulties in my life, and now it’s bringing me toward my dream,” she said in her intro package. She did not advance to the New York City rounds.
Her mother and four siblings survive Skilyr Hicks.