"Unfortunately, it happens too much over the years," Cowell 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?'" Cowell added.
"The unfortunate thing is it's happened too many times and every time it happens, it's hard,” Cowell said.
On July 18, Neal was found dead in his apartment in Nashville, Tennessee, by his roommate. Entertainment Weekly spoke to the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, and were told that Neal was found dead at 8 p.m. local time in his bedroom after his roommate received a call from the singer's mother, who hadn't heard from him. Police also told EW that a guitar pick found next to Neal's bed appeared to contain "a powder residue." The performer was 41 years old.
An official cause of death has not yet been released, EW reported. Neal’s cousin, Dylan Seals, told People at the time that the musician "ultimately succumbed to his battle with substance abuse."
Neal started his reality TV competition journey in 2016 when he appeared on The Voice. In 2020, the Nashville native auditioned for Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Sofia Vergara with an original song titled “Lost.”
Before performing “Lost" on AGT, the singer said in the video package, “I’m glad to be here today sober, very clear and focused. My voice is healthy. I’m healthy." Neal earned a standing ovation from the AGT audience before sharing that he “hasn’t touched the hard stuff since" getting sober. Neal said that “Lost” was the first song that he wrote out of treatment.
His run on AGT also included a performance of another original song, “Send Me a Butterfly.”