Debra Byrd, iconic vocal coach for American Idol and The Voice, as well as a longtime backup singer for Barry Manilow, has died. She was 72.

According to Deadline, Byrd worked with several Grammy award winners, actors, musicians and Broadway legends, some of those being Jennifer Hudson, Bob Dylan, Fantasia, Kelly Clarkson and many more. Byrd went to Kent State University and later studied at the Karamu House and Dobama theaters in the Cleveland area. She performed with Barry Manilow for many years as part of the singer’s featured backup group, Ladyflash. The group put out their own track in 1976, “Street Singin,'” which was written and arranged by Manilow. The song made it to #27 on the Billboard Hot 100 record chart.

“This is one of the saddest days of my life. I just can’t wrap my mind around the fact that Debra is no longer with me. She was one of the most wonderful friends I’ve ever had. I will miss you forever, my love,” Manilow posted on Wednesday on Instagram.  

American Idol alum Jennifer Hudson, who worked with Byrd when she worked on the show as a vocal coach, also shared her condolences online.

“Heartbroken over the passing of Debra Byrd, the vocal coach on American Idol,” she wrote on Instagram. “She encouraged and supported us from the very beginning ! I am so grateful for everything she taught us. She will be dearly missed, but her legacy lives on through the music of countless artists she influenced during her lifetime. Rest in peace, Debra.”

Byrd was also an actor, and garnered acclaim for her role in Broadway’s Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk. In 2001, she was nominated for a Black Theatre Alliance Award for Could It Be Magic. She also appeared in The Human Comedy, Barry Manilow on Broadway, Haarlem Nocturne and other stage productions.

Byrd’s vocals can be heard on soundtracks for movies like The Lion King, 2 1/2 and Sister Act II. As a vocal coach, she worked on Idol for 10 seasons before moving on to The Voice. The singer was also chosen by NBC to spearhead vocal production for its 2019 Super Bowl tribute to Prince, which was directed by Spike Lee.

Information about Byrd’s cause of death or memorial has not been shared.