A heartbroken Miley Cyrus is promising to honor the memory of her dear friend and former The Voice contestant Janice Freeman, who passed away on Saturday, March 9, 2019, in a very unique way. Cyrus has pledged to “take care of” Freeman’s 12-year-old daughter Hannah, thinking of her as her very own sister, since the tragic loss of her mom.
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Posted on Instagram for the attention of her fans, a statement from Freeman’s management explained that the singer died from “an extreme case of pneumonia and a blood clot that traveled to her heart.” It wasn’t Freeman’s first battle with poor health. In fact, Freeman’s inspirational story of overcoming the chronic struggle of illness was what cemented Cyrus’s love for her. Cyrus saw the unyielding strength that Freeman brought to the proverbial battlefield, and was in awe of the tenacious 33-year-old.
Freeman had already beaten cervical cancer when she stepped onto the Voice stage, and was living with lupus, an often chronically painful autoimmune disease.
After finishing in 11th place on season 13 of The Voice as part of “Team Miley,” Cyrus stayed in touch with the singer, who had touched her heart in a very profound way. Freeman was the true victor of the series in her eyes.
Freeman even revealed that Cyrus had generously paid six months’ rent on her behalf when her family had fallen on hard times. “[Cyrus] found us placement until we found permanent housing, gave me the deposit, covered me for 6 months so I can get on my feet!” Freeman posted on Twitter, at the time. “@MileyCyrus you are one of my closest friends,” she continued. “I’m praying GOD gives you the desire of your heart!”
With heavy hearts and sadness we share the news of Janice’s passing . Details about services and in what ways the family can be supported to follow 🖤 pic.twitter.com/iNHiQ4Etnt
— Janice Freeman (@janice_freeman) March 3, 2019
Cyrus’s grief was evident in a heartfelt social media post shared soon after her friend’s untimely passing. “I made a promise to you here on earth and will keep that promise as you watch from heaven,” she wrote on Instagram. “To take care of your precious little girl, my baby sister.” The Voice judge is taking her promise seriously, sharing with the world that she thinks of Freeman’s young daughter as a member of her very own family.
Cyrus shared her personal battle with her own feelings in mourning the death of her dear friend: “I am trying my best today to celebrate your existence,” she admitted, “but I can’t help but just deeply mourn over your absence.”
From Dion, Janice's husband: We can't thank you enough for all your love and prayers over this very difficult time. We…
It seems that the bond between the two women, seven years apart in age, ran deep. Freeman would often contact Cyrus to say that she was praying for her in times of need or ragged nerves, including concerts, important engagements, and industry events. And Cyrus returned the affection, rooting for Freeman in both a personal and professional capacity. “You were the only artist EVER, that I tried so hard to ‘sign,’” Cyrus shared online.
The singer later confirmed that she would like to release Freeman’s recordings officially, at “an appropriate time.”
Freeman’s husband shared an emotional message of gratitude, in response to an influx of love and support from fans, on his late wife’s Facebook page. He wrote: “We knew Janice was loved, but THIS has shown us a whole new world of the most amazing people.”
Cyrus lamented that we often lose our most outstanding talent before we “truly tell them what their art meant to us.” Freeman’s death has dealt a devastating blow to the loving family she leaves behind, and it seems that Cyrus will carry the aftershock in her heart for a very long time to come. The memory of her dear friend will certainly live on in Cyrus’s benevolent gesture—to care for 12-year-old Hannah for as long as she needs it.
“You are now a rainbow,” Cyrus added, a fitting epitaph for the singer who affected her so profoundly. “Something beautiful that comes after something so gloomy.”