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'Voice' Contestant Anthony Riley Found Dead

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By Sky News US Team

Anthony Riley, a Philadelphia street performer who wowed judges on NBC's talent show The Voice, has been found dead in an apparent suicide.

The 28-year-old, who left the show in January to deal with substance abuse, was discovered in the basement of an apartment building on Friday.

A family friend told the Philadephia Inquirer that Riley - who was coached by Pharrell Williams on the reality show - had taken his own life.

NBC said in a statement: "We are sad over the passing of Anthony Riley.

"We offer our deepest condolences to his friends and family during this very difficult time."

The fan favourite busked for years on the streets of downtown Philadelphia where he often played Motown songs and pop hits.

The charismatic crooner was inspired to pursue a music career after his mother died when he was 19 years old.

Riley finally found national fame when he auditioned for season eight of The Voice in an episode that aired in February.

His version of James Brown's I Got You (I Feel Good) was praised as "electric".

Riley became the fastest contestant ever to be picked by all four celebrity judges: Happy singer Williams, Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton.

But his departure from the show was revealed just a month later.

Riley told the Inquirer in March he had completed two-week stint in rehab and was working on an album.

:: Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 08457 90 90 90 or email jo@samaritans.org in the UK. In the US call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK.

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