Boyd’s death comes one year after he and his mother were involved in a serious car accident, in which their vehicle ran off the right side of the road and struck a tree.
Formerly the co-owner of an insurance agency, Boyd rose to fame on the NBC reality competition’s third season, where he shared the emotional story of his impoverished childhood and wowed judges Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and David Hasselhoff with his audition performance of “Nessun Dorma”:
He went on to win Season 3, earning a $1 million prize and a headlining act in Las Vegas. His post-Talent career included an album, My American Dream, and performances for multiple U.S. presidents. He also sang Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
Boyd briefly dabbled in politics, too: He ran for a seat in the Missouri House of Representatives twice, but was defeated both times.
Boyd died at his mother’s house in his hometown of Sikeston, Mo.