Miley Cyrus Gets Emotional While Paying Tribute to Janice Freeman at The Voice Singer's Memorial
Two weeks after Freeman died of complications from pneumonia and a blood clot at age 33, a celebration of life ceremony was held in her honor on Monday and streamed live on Facebook.
Midway through the memorial, Miley, 26, took the stage with her father Billy Ray Cyrus and struggled to hold back tears as she honored Freeman, who competed on Team Miley during the singing competition show’s 13th season.
Though she was originally expected to perform a solo musical tribute, Miley, who wore an all-black ensemble with her hair pulled into a ponytail, explained that she was too distraught about the death of her friend so her father would be helping instead.
“Before we sing this song for Janice, I just want to clear up a rumor,” a choked-up Miley began in her speech. “I was never her coach, ever. She was always mine.”
After eliciting laughter from the audience, Miley continued her tearful tribute. “I’ve learned more from her than anyone that I’ve ever gotten the honor to be in the room with, not just vocally — I should’ve gotten more lessons than I did — but she taught me everything that I know about love,” the singer said.
“And, to be here, and I had planned on singing a song for her, but just losing her is just too much for me,” she explained. “So my dad’s gonna take care of this for me.”
“But, I’ll always be your sister, I’m here for you, and I’m here for your family, and Janice I’ll miss you more than I could ever say,” Miley finished, prompting Billy Ray, 57, to kick off a soulful country rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
The “Malibu” singer eventually joined in with her father and the chorus of singers, before finishing out the tribute performance solo.
“Thank you for letting us be a part of your family, and thank you, Janice, for letting me be your friend. It’s been an honor,” Miley added after the performance.
On March 2, Freeman’s team confirmed her death in a statement posted to her Instagram account.
“We are heartbroken to report that Janice Marie Freeman passed away on March 2, 2019 from an extreme case of pneumonia and a blood clot that traveled to her heart,” the statement read. “While at home her husband Dion performed CPR until the ambulance arrived. She passed away at a local hospital shortly after.”
The statement continued, “A survivor and fighter, and a beautiful force in this world, Janice gained notoriety through her success on NBC’s The Voice as a member of Miley Cyrus’ team. Her story inspired fans nationwide, having successfully battled cervical cancer and living her life to the fullest while fighting lupus. Her friends and family greatly appreciate your prayers, calls, and texts during this time, and ask that they be given space to remember everything that Janice was to them as they process and mourn her loss.”
Following the news, Miley remembered the Top 11 superstar standout, who “found the good in everything.”
“I miss you so much it hurts. Everywhere ….. but so did you. So often. So much pain and no one would ever notice because of the smile and joy you constantly radiated,” she began an Instagram post on March 4. “I am trying my best today to celebrate your existence but I can’t help but just deeply mourn over your absence. All those texts I would receive, just of you telling me that you’re praying for ME. How you were so selfless I’ll never understand. The way you found the good in everything. You are now a rainbow. Something beautiful that comes after something so gloomy.”
Miley added about Freeman’s great talent: “You were the only artist EVER, that I tried so hard to ‘sign,’ was going to create a label just so YOU could be on it. No one has heard them and I hope to share at an appropriate time, but the records you were creating with @brandicarlile (where it all began, the story) and my dear writer friend @ilsey were so magically beautiful JUST LIKE YOU.”
She continued, “Today we lost a legend. Do you hear me. Everyone got it so wrong on our season together of The Voice because no matter what has been recorded or remembered YOU won my angel. You are not only the best singer that show has ever had the honor of having on that stage but the best f—ing singer in the world. What makes me sick is we always wait till the best are gone to recognize them and truly tell them what their art meant to us. The hope their voice gave us …. the emotions they pulled from us.”
“Janice you’re my star! I will never give up on you. Ever. I am no longer your coach, I never was ….. YOU constantly taught me. You’ve been my coach on how to love, on how to persevere, on how to fight for what I want and never let even my own body get in the way,” Miley concluded. “Anything is possible if it’s being done with faith. You are my world. I will never forget you or stop loving you. I am forever yours, Miley.”
To hug you one more time @janicefreeman …. I made a promise to you here on earth and will keep that promise as you watch from heaven . To take care of your precious little girl , my baby sister . To shine light on your husband and mother when days are dark ! I love you
A post shared by Miley Cyrus (@mileycyrus) on Mar 4, 2019 at 11:04am PST
In a second post, Miley wrote, “To hug you one more time @janicefreeman …. I made a promise to you here on earth and will keep that promise as you watch from heaven. To take care of your precious little girl, my baby sister. To shine light on your husband and mother when days are dark ! I love you.”
The pair shared a close bond that lasted after Freeman left the show, as she revealed on Twitter in January 2018 that the “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” singer even helped cover her housing bills for six months.
Freeman is survived by her husband Dion, daughter Hannah and mother Janice.
(This story has not been edited by N24 staff and is People.com auto-generated from a RSS feed.)
Published Date: Tuesday, March 19th, 2019 | 08:45 AM