‘American Idol’ Finalist Reveals Brother’s Death: ‘I Can’t Cope’

American Idol finalists

Heavy/ABC "American Idol" finalists during season finale

Season 21 “American Idol” finalist Lucy Love is reeling after the tragic death of her brother, Montreal “New Money” Cox. The single mom from Holly Grove, Arkansas — who made it to the Top 12 and returned to perform with TLC on the season finale — revealed the devastating loss on social media.

In a Facebook post on June 8, 2023, Love shared videos and photos of her and Cox, a father and aspiring rapper, accompanying his sister to her “Idol” audition in Las Vegas and as she competed in Hawaii, during which viewers saw him cheering his sister on from the audience.

Love captioned her post, “Rest well brother 🙏🏾😭 My Angel Now❤️” 

The following day, June 9, Love posted a photo on Instagram of her brother smiling and simply wrote, “I can’t cope 🙏🏾💔”

When a friend expressed her shock on her Instagram post, Love replied, “I know V 😭😭😭💔 I’m absolutely crushed & confused . I’ts hard mane …”

Though Love hasn’t addressed the cause of Cox’s death, multiple friends on social media have alluded to him being the victim of gun violence. In May, the R&B singer asked for prayers for her brother days before she appeared on the May 21 “Idol” season finale. Here’s what you need to know:

Lucy Love’s Brother Was Hospitalized Before Her Appearance on ‘American Idol’ Season Finale

Love was a favorite of the “Idol” judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan from her first audition, when she got them to their feet and brought Perry to tears with an emotional rendition of Donny Hathaway’s “A Song For You.”

Love rose through the competition, making it to the Top 12 when the judges used their “saves” on her and fellow contestant Nutsa Buzaladze. But the following week, during the April 30 live episode, neither captured enough viewer votes to advance to the Top 10. The 28-year-old singer returned home to Holly Grove, a community of 602 residents that helped raise funds for her travels during the show and for a banner that celebrates being the “Home of Lucy Love.”

Cox also lived in Holly Grove, but Love has not addressed the specific circumstances surrounding her brother’s death. She began sharing on Facebook in mid-May that he had been hospitalized but that his “condition and information is confidential.”

On May 12, she wrote on Facebook, “Keep fighting brother 🙏🏾❤️ Positive Prayers for my right hand @Montreal NewMoney Cox”

Two days later, Love wrote, “Thank you to everybody who has genuinely checked on my brother. I’m sure that he would appreciate you ❤️ God is STILL keeping him ! Also, My brother’s Visitation is limited to immediate family & friends of the family. His condition & information , is confidential .We ask that you only send positive prayers up for him for & allow him time & space to try & recover. You will have plenty of time for visits & updates . Let’s just allow him that privacy while sparing details❤️”

On May 18, Love seemed hopeful about her brother’s condition, sharing on Facebook, “Breathing machine requirement was 100% now it’s 70% DONT TELL ME GOD WONT DO IT ! My brother slowly shaking back !!! 💪🏾💪🏾💪🏾💪🏾”

Love was already back in Los Angeles by that point, preparing for her performances on the “Idol” season finale. It’s not clear if Cox remained hospitalized until his death or if a separate incident occurred, but on June 8, one of the siblings’ cousins, Angela Artis, posted a tribute to Cox on Facebook that seemed to confirm he’d been out of commission for many weeks.

She wrote, “My Virgo cousin, I been missin your voice since March 27th we talked about no sin being greater than the other. The kids kept seeing you on tv. We call you Big Money!!! The kids said that our family is rich. You told them we gone be rich one day… and we will. Then you went on Beale street and that was it.”

Artis continued, “I’ll miss your hard core persona on the outside but having experienced that you’re really a big teddy bear on the inside. Money’s soul was so different.”

In addition, on Love’s June 9 Instagram post, a local police officer shared that she had been the first responder to tend to Cox.

TeErra Foster, a Holly Grove police officer wrote, “I was the first responding officer on scene💔💔.. I just want to start off by saying, I never knew any of his family to send out my condolences… So im sorry for your loss love❤️‍🩹 if there was more that I could’ve done to save him at that moment I definitely would’ve 💔”

Officer Foster continued, “Just know he was an awesome guy! One day someone from Atlanta hit a deer about 3AM coming through town to head to Pinebluff. Your brother is the only person that I could trust this guy with so I went to wake him up and he took the guy to Pinebluff for me.. and didn’t want any money from him…A Good Samaritan at heart and I will never forget him because of that🕊️💙 Fly high Mon🥺🙏🏾 Stay strong Lucy!! Everything you do, let him be your motivation🙏🏾”

Fans & Contestants Flood Lucy Love as She Faces Latest Hardship

Ryan Seacrest, Lucy Love

ABCRyan Seacrest with Lucy Love and her daughter on “American Idol”

Love has received supportive messages on social media from family members and friends stunned by his death along with Love’s fans and fellow “Idol” contestants.

On Love’s June 9 Instagram photo of her brother, Top 5 finalist Wé Ani wrote, “My love to my absolute soul sister! I love you so much!!!” and Love replied, “🙏🏾I love you 😭💔”

Elijah McCormick, a Platinum Ticket recipient who was Love’s duet partner during Hollywood Week, wrote, “Praying for you sis!! Love you ❤️🙏🏽”

Contestant Trey “Tre from the Fe” Louis, who made a lasting impact on many viewers with his story of surviving a school shooting, wrote, “My heart is with you Lucy Love. Your brother was so proud of you. Praying for your family.”

There’s also been an outpouring of love from friends and fans, including from one who wrote, “I’m so glad he got to accompany you on your American Idol journey! He was and truly is your angel. 🙏🏾❤️”

Another wrote, “Because of you, he got a chance to experience fame and fortune. I know he was proud of you.”

During Love’s journey on “Idol,” Love was open about the hardships she and her family have faced, from not growing up with a dad to struggling with poverty. During her audition, she told the judges that she was determined to escape that “generational cycle” and create a better life for her two young children, Noah and Nia.

“You’re gonna show those babies to never, ever give up on their dreams,” Perry told her.

During the Top 20 episode, Love told producers, “I come from a very strong and supportive family. We just didn’t have anything growing up, that’s all. I know about that. I know about wearing the same outfit for two and three weeks. I know about gluing my shoes back, clothes when they would tear up.”

That night, Love sang an original song called “Boulders” that she wrote while stranded on the side of the road, determined to be a “survivor” of her story. Inspired and moved, the judges loved her song and Perry told her she’d do more than survive her circumstances.

“You’re gonna thrive and you’re gonna show and you’re going to be a leader,” she said.

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