Neal Boyd blessed us all with his God-given talent

Neal Boyd lived an amazing life, an amazing life filled with challenges and obstacles.

We will remember him for many moments, the biggest of which is winning the "America's Got Talent" competition in 2008.

But we will remember him for many smaller moments as well.

Boyd was a genuinely good person, who greeted you with a smile and an ear. As others have stated, he made you feel like the only person in the room. He made you the star.

Boyd died June 10 at the age of 42. The opera singer and patriotic American, who ran multiple times for public office, died last week from natural causes.

Blessed with a booming, beautiful voice and a soul to match, Boyd left this world much too soon.

The opera singer loved football in his younger days, but it was his music that took him places.

One of his friends said Boyd readily talked about growing up poor and being "mixed race". There were many hardships along the way, but Boyd studied and earned degrees at Southeast Missouri State University and the University of Missouri-Columbia. His talent led him to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

He worked full-time, while also developing his musical talent before his big break on America's Got Talent. Even after winning the grand prize, Boyd still came home to sing and help raise money for many causes and charity events. In January of 2017 he and his mother were involved in a serious automobile wreck. As he recovered, he was working on a third album, which he told the Southeast Missourian would be uplifting.

Boyd's voice and personality were treasures. We mourn his passing, and wish our sincerest condolences to his family, whom he loved and cherished.

Boyd lived a short life, but he left behind a legacy of making the most of his God-given talent through hard work, dedication and passion. He used his gifts to inspire and lift others. He will be greatly missed.