‘America’s Got Talent’ Finalist Dead at 44

by Craig Garrett
(Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)

Zuri Craig, known for his time competing on America’s Got Talent season 10 and as a collaborator with Tyler Perry has died. Craig was 44. On Sunday, ZoReMi Entertainment’s Instagram page announced that the singer had passed away Friday. The image featured several images from Craig’s life and career. No cause of death was given.

“It is with profound sadness that we announce the transition of our beloved son, brother, and friend, Zuri Craig,” they captioned the image. “We thank you in advance for your prayers. Please honor our privacy during this unimaginable time of mourning.”

In 2015, Craig made it to the finals of America’s Got Talent season 10 as one half of the CraigLewis Band. With stand-out performances of James Brown’s “This is a Man’s World” and Mary J. Blige’s “I’m Goin’ Down,” they landed in fifth place overall. Out of all the singing groups who competed in Season 10, The CraigLewis Band progressed further than any other. In fact, they were also the overall highest-scoring group act of that season.

Craig had previously worked with Tyler Perry, appearing in the films Madea’s Big Happy Family (2011) and A Madea Christmas (2011). He also lent his vocals to Madea Gets a Job (2013). Last July, he held a casting call for his web series entitled Black Hollywood: Atlanta.

Zuri Craig paved his own way into the entertainment industry

Zuri Craig’s love for music originated when he was 9 years old and living in Metropolitan Washington, DC. He would hear the church choir singing as he walked home from the corner store, and eventually decided to audition for Duke Ellington School of the Arts.

Craig was quickly accepted into the high school talent show and given a solo. His first performance was Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror.” He received praise and accolades for his efforts, which lead to him being awarded membership in the high school choir. Craig took on the role of lead singer for the group, which meant they performed at countless events across D.C., including George H.W Bush’s presidential inauguration.

After graduating high school, Craig attended Clark Atlanta University (CAU), where he majored in business administration. In his freshman year, Craig met new friends by entering a talent show.

Craig and Lewis decided to start a band together after they saw each other perform at a talent show at their university. They both had an instant connection and loved gospel and contemporary R&B music. Instead of giving up on their dreams, they took matters into their own hands by using YouTube as a platform to showcase their talents to millions of people. This led to the prolific Tyler Perry discovering Craig and his group, CraigLewis Band.