Simon Cowell on recent death of ‘AGT' contestant Nolan Neal: ‘You’re never prepared’

·2 min read

Simon Cowell is sharing his grief over the death of former "America's Got Talent" contestant Nolan Neal.

“Unfortunately, it happens too much over the years,” Cowell, 62, told 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?’” asked Cowell. “The unfortunate thing is it’s happened too many times and every time it happens, it’s hard.”

Neal, who appeared on Season 15 of “America’s Got Talent” and Seasons 10 and 11 of “The Voice,” died July 18 at age 41. Authorities have not yet determined the exact cause of his death.

The Nashville-based musician revealed that he was in recovery from addiction during his 2020 audition for “AGT."

He performed an original song called “Lost" — calling it the first song he wrote after getting sober —  and said he hadn’t touched “the hard stuff” in 15 years, which earned him cheers from Cowell and fellow judge Sofia Vergara.

While speaking to People, Cowell acknowledged also being rocked by the tragic death earlier this year of Season 16 “AGT” contestant Nightbirde. The talented singer, whose real name was Jane Marczewski, died Feb. 19 at age 31 after a four-year battle with cancer.

Simon Cowell and Jane
Simon Cowell and Jane

“After the last three years, it’s been tough," said Cowell. "And then, you think everything’s OK and then something hits you like a story like that and it’s hard.

“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,” he added. “That’s it. I mean, I was talking about this to someone earlier on, you’re never prepared for these days.”

Cowell paid tribute to Nightbirde after her death, calling the late singer a “brave” and “talented” person in an emotional message he shared on Twitter and Instagram.

"Heart breaking news to hear about @_nightbirde, she was an extraordinary person, so brave, so talented. She made a huge impact on AGT and the world," Cowell wrote of the singer, who brought him and other "AGT" judges to tears singing an original song called "It's OK" during her 2021 audition.

"Her determination to fight this terrible illness was remarkable," added Cowell. "Rest in peace, Jane. I am sending my love to her family."