Former X-Factor contestant Simone Battle was found hanging in her West Hollywood apartment over the weekend.
The Los Angeles coroner ruled the 25-year-old singer’s death a suicide by hanging, reports PEOPLE.
Battle came to fame as a contestant on the singing competition in 2011, and later as a part of the five-member girl group G.R.L., who were billed as the next Pussycat Dolls. The group released their debut single, “Ugly Heart,” in July and had enjoyed a fair amount of success for featuring on rapper Pitbull’s song, “Wild Wild Love.”
“Simone was an exceptional young talent and human being, and we are all devastated to learn of her passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and loved ones at this time,” said a statement from RCA Records, the group’s record company.
Battle grew up in Los Angeles, singing in her local church. Whitney Houston inspired her “dream to be a singer,” she said on the group’s.
The morning Simone Battle turned four, her father came into her room and woke her up by playing Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” on a stereo boom box. “After that I played the tape over and over till it unwound,” she recalls. “I love Josephine Baker, Eartha Kitt, and Dorothy Dandridge, but Whitney definitely inspired my dream to be a singer.” Growing up in Los Angeles, Simone joined the cherub choir, studied ballet and tap, and did television, commercials, and print modeling before landing a post-high school internship with a company that worked with The Black Eyed Peas. An audition for will.i.am led to a tour with the band and an interest in songwriting. The other members of G.R.L describe Simone as “the brainy one.” “I can go to Simone if I need advice or help and will always get the answer that I’m looking for,” Lauren says. Simone studied Music Industry and Songwriting at USC before trying out for Season 1 of The X Factor, where she reached the Top 16. Using the show as a platform, Simone released a song she wrote called “He Likes Boys,” and appeared in the 2012 feature film We The Party directed by Mario Van Peebles.