Anthony Riley, 28, a beloved Philadelphia street performer who rose to fame as a fan favorite on the most recent season of NBC’s “The Voice,” was found dead Friday in an apparent suicide, Philly.com reports.
Riley, who was coached by famed producer and artist Pharell Williams, won his first battle round but departed the show in January to enter rehab for substance abuse issues.
Riley was known around Philadelphia for “crooning Motown and pop songs for tips on the bustling streets outside Reading Terminal Market, Penn’s Landing, and Independence Hall.”
“He’d had his problems recently. But at the heart of all that was a very kind, gentle person,” said fellow Philly musician Robby Parsons to Philly.com.
Riley broke a “Voice” record when his blind-audition performance so astounded judges that all four of them whipped their chairs around with lightening speed.
In 2014, Philadelphia Magazine named him the city’s best street performer.
“He smiled and he meant it,” Parsons said, likening Mr. Riley to comedian Robin Williams, who “made so many people happy, but didn’t know how to make himself happy.”
Read more at Philly.com.
Watch Riley’s blind audition, singing “I Feel Good,” on ‘The Voice’ below: