Janice Freeman, a popular former contestant on NBC’s ‘The Voice’, died on Saturday at the age of 33.
Freeman reportedly said she couldn’t breathe while at home in California with her husband, according to TMZ. Those close to her later confirmed that Freeman died of an extreme case of pneumonia and a blood clot that travelled to her heart.
“While at home her husband Dion performed CPR until the ambulance arrived,” read a post on Freeman’s Instagram account. “She passed away at a local hospital shortly after.”
On Season 13 of ‘The Voice’, Freeman was known both for her soaring, powerful singing as well as for the health issues she had overcome to get to the stage. She would later openly talk about her struggles with cervical cancer and lupus, as well as other illnesses.
During Freeman’s blind audition, two judges — Miley Cyrus and Jennifer Hudson — turned their chairs in validation for the contestant’s soulful rendition of Imagine Dragons’ ‘Radioactive’.
“I like that song better now that you sang it than the original,” Cyrus told her, as Freeman’s daughter wept to the side of the stage.
In her initial conversations with her two potential coaches, Freeman alluded to her health problems.
“I’ve definitely been singing all my life, but I’ve had so many obstacles that constantly try and stop that with cancer and ...”
Freeman trailed off and tried to fight back tears, then began sobbing onstage. Cyrus and Hudson rushed out of their seats to comfort her.
“We’ve all been through something,” Hudson said.
“Exactly,” Freeman said.
“But we all have no choice but to keep on going,” Hudson continued.
“Exactly!” Freeman added.
“And I think that you should know that, no matter what, maybe you’re the reason why next season someone like you will walk through this door,” Cyrus chimed in.
Freeman pumped her left hand in the air. By this point, all of her family members watching were in tears.
Freeman ultimately chose to join “Team Miley,” wowing the coaches and viewers for several weeks with covers of ‘I’m Goin’ Down’, ‘Fall for You’ and ‘The Story’. She advanced to the Top 11 before she was eliminated.
After the show, Freeman continued performing — and encouraging others to fight through whatever health issues they were facing.
“Rise up! I don’t care what you’ve been diagnosed with ...” she wrote on Instagram in December on a post of her performance of an Andra Day song. “YOU WILL RISE ABOVE IT ALL!”
News of Freeman’s death shocked ‘Voice’ fans. Her former coach paid tribute to Freeman on social media Sunday, posting a picture to her Instagram Story of a rainbow over a lush landscape.
“Thank you @janicefreeman ... for everything,” Cyrus wrote. “This represents you perfectly.”
Hudson also honoured the late singer Sunday, posting to Instagram a snippet of Freeman’s blind audition and offering condolences to her family.
“The voice of hers we got to hear and the bit of life we got to watch her live was a blessing and inspiration to us all!” Hudson wrote.
Freeman is survived by her husband, Dion; her daughter, Hannah; her mother, Janice; brothers and sisters; and many extended family members.