NBC’s reality TV show “America’s Got Talent” has been a part of our lives for the better part of two decades, originally debuting in Summer 2006. Season after season, viewers find themselves falling in love with a countless number of auditioners, which is why it’s so gut-wrenching when one of them eventually passes away. In our photo gallery above, we take a moment to remember all of the talented acts who left us too soon. “AGT” deaths: Remembering the contestants we’ve lost on “America’s Got Talent” was originally published March 2022. The 18th season of the reality program premieres Summer 2023.
Scott Alexander, a magician, rose to fame during the sixth season of “AGT” where he made it all the way to the Quarterfinals. Following the show, Scott continued doing magic and even appeared on the second season of “Penn & Teller: Fool Us.” His wife revealed he had passed away on February 5, 2023 at age 52, after having a stroke while performing magic on a cruise ship. Watch his “AGT” audition right here:
Nightbirde (real name Jane Kristen Marczewski) lost her four-year battle with cancer in February 2022 at age 31. The inspirational singer became an instant sensation when she auditioned in 2021 with her original song “It’s Okay,” earning Simon Cowell‘s Golden Buzzer in the process. “It’s important that everyone knows I’m so much more than the bad things that happened to me,” she declared at her audition. Nightbirde withdrew from the show when her cancer returned (read her full statement), and the judges later checked in with her live via Zoom.
Just months earlier, Skilyr Hicks passed away of a suspected drug overdose in December 2021. The singer and guitarist performed an original song during her 2013 audition (when she was just 14 years old) and received four “yes” votes from the panelists. Skilyr was eventually eliminated before the live shows began.
Grandma Lee (real name Frances Lee Strong) died in 2020, six months after falling and breaking her hip. The 85-year-old stand-up comedian made waves in 2009 with her saucy act that brought her all the way to the “AGT” season finale. She remains one of the show’s most beloved (and original) comedy acts.
Neal E. Boyd died in 2018 at age 42 due to heart failure, kidney failure and liver disease. America couldn’t get enough of this opera singer and voted him as the million-dollar winner of the third season in 2008. Fellow opera singer Paul Potts dedicated one of his “AGT: The Champions” performances to Neal in 2019.
Brandon Rogers tragically perished in a 2017 car accident before his audition was ever shown to audiences. “AGT” got permission from the family to still broadcast the 29-year-old doctor’s performance of “Ribbon In The Sky” on television, and it’s since gone viral.
Tim Fort passed away in 2016 at age 51 after suffering a series of strokes. His amazing chain reactions brought him to the quarterfinals of “AGT” back in 2011, where he was eliminated. The aptly named The Kinetic King then returned as a wild card in the semifinals.
Bernie Barker‘s death in 2007 was the result of losing his battle with prostate cancer. Just one year earlier, on the show’s first season, he shocked the judges with his naughty stripper act to the song “She Bangs.” He received two “yes” votes but was eliminated in the next round.