Standout 'Voice' Contestant Anthony Riley Dies at 28

by Gina Vivinetto 11:35 AM PDT, June 08, 2015
Playing Standout 'Voice' Contestant Anthony Riley Dies at 28

Anthony Riley, the Philadelphia street musician who became a standout contestant on the most recent season of NBC's The Voice has died. It has been reported as a suicide.

NEWS: Why Season 8 Has The Best Combination of 'Voice' Judges Ever!

On a Voice episode that aired in February, Riley became famous for having the fastest four-chair turnaround by judges in the show's history as he performed James Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)." After nailing an initial battle round, Riley became a frontrunner for season 8 winner.

On-screen, the 28-year-old singer was being mentored by judge Pharrell Williams, but in reality, he had already left the show the month before. After telling producers he needed to seek treatment for substance abuse, Riley told an interviewer that NBC had paid for his rehabilitation.

Riley, who wowed fans of the show with his delivery of classic R&B tunes, told in late March that he had finished treatment and was working on an album -- just as Voice viewers learned of the singer's troubles.

VIDEO: Behind the Scenes of 'The Voice': Babies, Bickering and Blake

The Voice host Carson Daly took to Instagram to share his heartbreak after learning of Riley's death. "It's a heartbreaking loss," Daly wrote. "He was incredibly talented and loved to sing. God Bless him."

While The Voice was Riley’s biggest national break, he had been lauded for many years in his home city. In 2014, Philadelphia magazine named him best street performer.