Simon Cowell spoke out on Tuesday (Aug. 9) about the tragic passing of America’s Got Talent contestant Nolan Neal.
“Unfortunately, it happens too much over the years,” the reality judge said in an interview with People. “I was thinking about this the other day. People [who] passed too soon. Every time it happens, because you’ve gotten to know them, it’s horrible. At that moment, it’s like, ‘What can I say?’ The unfortunate thing is it’s happened too many times and every time it happens, it’s hard.”
Neal, who competed in the 2020 season of the hit NBC talent show, passed away last month at his home in Nashville. An exact cause of death was not announced by his cousin, Dylan Seals, said in a statement that the singer “ultimately succumbed to his battle with substance abuse.” Prior to his stint on AGT, Neal also appeared on Season 10 of The Voice back in 2016.
Sadly, the Nashville alt-rocker isn’t the first AGT alum who has died since their time on the show. In February, Season 16 contestant Jane “Nightbirdie” Marczewski also passed away after a hard-fought battle with cancer. (During her initial audition, the 31-year-old singer told the judging panel she had been given a “two percent chance of survival” by doctors.
“After the last three years, it’s been tough. And then, you think everything’s okay and then something hits you like a story like that and it’s hard,” Cowell added. “But all I can say is, what I’ve learned from this, is that you just take every day as it is and you try and stay positive, you try and stay healthy. That’s it. I mean, I was talking about this to someone earlier on, you’re never prepared for these days.”