America's Got Talent hit with sudden deaths of stars as Skilyr Hicks & Jay Jay Phillips pass within days of each other

AMERICA’S Got Talent has been left rocked by the recent deaths of former contestants Skilyr Hicks and heavy metal musician Jay Jay Phillips.

Skilyr was found dead at a home in Liberty, South Carolina on Monday while Phillips, 30, passed away on Thanksgiving Day following a battle with Covid-19.

Skilyr battled substance abuse and mental health, her mom Jodi told TMZ.

The 23-year-old rose to prominence as she appeared on AGT in 2013 at the age of 14 and performed a song that she had created herself.

The artist shared an emotional story during her audition as she revealed that her dad had passed away.

In a confessional, Skilyr said: “He made some bad decisions and I hadn't seen him in a few years.

"The last time I saw him I remember driving away and he was crying."

Skilyr continued: "After his funeral, I wrote my first song. It's kind of like a message that came too late for my dad, but I know if he could see me now he would be really proud of me."

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She revealed how she taught herself how to play the guitar, write and sing.

Skilyr impressed the judges before she was eliminated ahead of the live shows.

The artist shared videos of herself performing acoustic covers to her thousands of Instagram followers.

In a Facebook post uploaded months before her death, Skilyr branded music "her life" and said she doesn't produce songs because "she's expected to"

Jodi said her daughter’s songs would “live on” while elder sister Breelyn said Skilyr’s ability to create music inspired others.

In a moving tribute posted on Facebook, Breelyn added: “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.”

Skilyr’s death comes just days after it was reported that keyboardist Jay Jay Phillips had passed away.

Phillips, of Cleveland, Ohio, developed his passion for music while attending high school during the early 2000s.


His band at the time Hysteria competed in the Tri-C High School Rock Off and made his first appearance on AGT, performing an original piece that he titled the “monster mama jam”.

Despite being rejected the first time round in 2009, Phillips returned to the show in season 12 where he was eliminated in the Judges Cuts.

He was a popular figure on the show thanks to his rock star fashion and outlandish hair.

Family members revealed that the keyboardist contracted Covid in Thanksgiving week, TMZ reports.

Pals were constantly checking in for updates over the phone but the artist’s health deteriorated.

Phillips’ girlfriend and mom went to check on him and found him dead.

He had not been vaccinated against the disease but planned to get his jab.

Photographer and pal Seph Lawless told The Wrap: “He was battling Covid like so many quietly at home, the only difference was his soul was larger than most and so we all knew he was struggling.

“JJ was only 30 and always seemed healthy to me [the] decade I knew him, so this is a shock to most of us.”


Seph branded Phillips a “child prodigy” and said music was the artist's life.

Dozens of tributes poured in as news of the artist’s death emerged.

In an emotional statement, Phillips' band Mettal Maffia commented: “It is with great sadness we inform you all of the loss of our bandmate/brother/and friend @jayjayrocks.

"It still doesn’t feel real and we would give anything to change it.

“Please respect the family, as well as our wishes as we take our time to grieve and process this detrimental loss.

We miss you brother, every second of every minute, of every day. Thank you for teaching us all to laugh a little more. Rock in Paradise.”

The band shared a picture of Phillips wearing angel wings and a halo.

Singer Mike Geier, also known as the clown Puddles Pity Party, posted four broken heart emojis underneath Phillips’ final Instagram post.

Fans also shared their condolences. One person said: “Rest in peace Jay Jay. My heart is broken.”

Paying homage, another commented: “Rest in peace Jay Jay. I’m so sad, forever my favorite rocker.”

And a third said: “We’re all gonna miss you. Wherever you are. You better be raising hell.”

AGT said that they were “saddened” to learn of Phillips’ passing in a statement posted to their Instagram Story.

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