Skilyr Hicks, who at age 14 impressed the judges of America’s Got Talent with her performance of an original song and poignant story of losing her father, died Monday in Liberty, South Carolina. She was 23.
Her death was confirmed by her younger sister Breelyn Hicks in a Facebook post this morning. Earlier, TMZ reported that the sisters’ mother, Jodi Hicks, told the news outlet that Skiler was found lifeless at the home of a friend.
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“My super beautiful, extremely talented, hilarious, free spirit of a sister left this world to be with Jesus,” writes Breelyn Hicks. “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…”
According to TMZ, Jodi Hicks said Skilyr battled mental health issues including depression and substance abuse. Skilyr Hicks was arrested in 2017 and 2018 for assaulting family members while drunk and underage drinking.
On America’s Got Talent, Hicks auditioned with an original song, performing for Howard Stern, Mel B, Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel. During her audition, Hicks told the judges about the loss of her father a few years prior. “He made some bad decisions and I hadn’t seen him in a few years…After his funeral I wrote my first song.”
After her performance, in which she accompanied herself on guitar, Hicks was told by Mandel that she was “inspiring the nation right now,” and all four judges voted to keep the contestant in the competition. She was later eliminated during the season’s live rounds.
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