I first became aware of Janice Freeman when she competed on Season 13 of The Voice. When the stage lights illuminated and she sand the first lines of the song “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons, I was mesmerized. Her powerful voice—raw and visceral—gave me goosebumps.

After I learned more about Janice’s background and the multiple illnesses she battled while participating in the show, I felt compelled to reach out to her. I was certain Real Health readers would want to know more about this determined and dynamic woman.

That’s when I turned to Facebook and sent her a message and asked her to call me. When she did, I was pleasantly surprised. Janice was gracious, enthusiastic and so modest and down-to-earth that I was humbled.

In the weeks that followed, we kept in touch, set an interview date and then we talked. Her cover story was featured in Real Health’s Spring 2018 issue. To read the publication, click here.

After the magazine came out, Janice and I stayed in contact. She was still doing shows and asked for copies of the magazine to pass out to the audience. I was excited for Janice and started to follow her career. To me, she was like a comet shooting strong and bright against a midnight sky.

Although Janice didn’t win The Voice, she won the hearts of many and touched people’s lives with her strength, dedication and perseverance to overcome the odds. Janice was a cervical cancer survivor living with lupus and Sjögren’s syndrome who also suffered from other illnesses as a child and teenager.

Now, nearly one year to the day after the issue dropped, this remarkable woman has died. Her passing triggered a memorial from The Voice and touching social media tributes from Miley Cyrus, her coach on the show, and Jennifer Hudson, who was also a coach during that season, E News online reported.

Like others touched by her, I also feel the loss of Janice Freeman deeply. Despite knowing her only for a short time, I feel diminished by her death. The world is a lonelier, less joyous place without her in it.