23-year-old former ‘America’s Got Talent’ singer has died

A contestant on the popular competition talent show America’s Got Talent has passed away at the age of 23.

Skilyr Hicks appeared on season eight of the show when she was 14-years-old. She auditioned for Howard Stern, Mel B, Heidi Klum, and Howie Mandel. Hicks was reportedly found dead at a friend’s house in Liberty, South Carolina on Dec. 6.

Hicks’ mother Jodi shared the news with TMZ. The Chief Deputy of the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office said that Hicks may have died of a drug overdose as she was found with drug paraphernalia around her body and pronounced dead at the scene.

Hicks’ mother said the troubled singer dealt with depression and substance abuse and was deeply loved by her family, including her four siblings.

“She will live on through her music,” her mother said.

During her audition, Hicks shared a touching story about how music helped her heal after losing her father. She had a striking voice that sounded much older and wiser than her 14 years, and she did well enough to get passed to the next round.

“I think that you are a beautiful girl,” judge Klum said after the audition in 2013. “And I’m thankful that you shared your story with all of us. It’s a very hard story I’m sure for you to tell everyone. And I feel that you won all of our hearts.”

Take a look at her audition below.

Hicks was eliminated from the show just before the live rounds.

In the years after the show, she made the news again but for a very different reason. In 2018, when she was 20, she was arrested on charges of underage drinking. She also spent time in jail in 2017 for allegedly striking her family members, including her grandmother.

Hicks’ sister, Breelyn, left a touching tribute to the singer on Facebook.

“My super beautiful, extremely talented, hilarious, free spirit of a sister left this world to be with Jesus. I can’t possibly put into words how broken-hearted I am. I will miss her like crazy. I’ll miss her voice, her long warm hugs, her constantly making jokes using puns. Her ability to create music that inspired thousands of people. She had so much life left to live. Skilyr, I don’t know how I’ll be able to live without you. You were a light that shown brighter than ever. You were my best friend, you were my rock. We always had each other’s back no matter what. Just know that I love you unconditionally, that you will live on in our hearts, minds, memories, and through your God given musical ability. Your Songs are your legacy. Fly high, little bird.