The gospel community is saddened by the death of “Sunday Best” season two finalist Dontavies Boatwright.
The 34-year-old baritone died in his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. The official cause of death has not yet been released, but it is believed to be an apparent heart attack.
Boatwright was signed to Parriscope Entertainment, Inc. and in September had just released his first single, a medley of the Fred Hammond songs “Glory to Glory” and “Blessed.”
Parriscope’s Vice President Wanda Patterson told AlwaysAList.com that Boatwright had not finished recording his forthcoming CD, so unfortunately the record will not be released posthumously.
Boatwright starred in several gospel stage plays, including “He’s Not the Man I Married” and “The Fight of Her Life.”
The personable singer was a vocal coach and co-hosted a radio show with Patterson on 1360 AM and WCGL1360.com.
He served as the Production Director of Community Gospel Outreach, and Chaplin of the Jacksonville Chapter of the Gospel Announcers Guild.
“Dontavies was a true brother and friend! I’m still sitting here in disbelief. May he rest in peace and sing around heaven with his soul stirring baritone voice! Love you man,” said season two winner, Y’Anna Crawley.
“Dontavies had such an amazing sense of presence that could really lift the room; not just when he sang, but his smile, his spirit. When we were on season two of ‘Sunday Best,’ every round, he always had an encouraging word and he took time to really speak into my life. He was a blessing to me and I am so grateful that I was able to have met and shared with him. When I heard that he passed, I was truly heartbroken. I know especially for the season two ‘Sunday Best’ contestants, we are really a family; Dontavies was like a brother and he will forever be loved and missed. My prayers are with his family at this time,” said finalist Clifton Ross, III.
“He was a man of dignity with a powerful voice. His character spoke for himself – very professional and a heart of Gold. He will be missed,” said finalist Maurice Griffin.
“Going to truly miss my friend and brother, Dontavies Boatwright. Such a good dude and just genuine. Praying for his family,” expressed finalist John McClure, Jr.
“Dontavies Boatwright was a part of BET’s ‘Sunday Best’ season two’s top five. His presence and vocal ability was flawless and fantastically great. I had the pleasure of communicating with him regularly over the past several months and one of the things we talked about was his take away from ‘Sunday Best.’ Boatwright was still appreciative for the opportunities he’d been able to take advantage of since being a ‘Sunday Best’ contestant. He was overwhelmed that he hadn’t worked a 9 to 5 [job] since the show and he was excited about having traveled the world to minister the message of Christ’s love. His ‘Sunday Best’ family will miss him,” said Neily Dickerson, “Sunday Best” associate producer and talent producer.
VIDEO: Watch this video of Dontavies Boatwright performing on BET’s “Sunday Best.”