Debra Byrd, a voice coach who worked with some of the biggest musical artists in the world, has died at the age of 72.

She worked on a range of high-profile music-themed television shows, including American Idol, The Voice, Canadian Idol, Military Idol and Majors and Minors, and personally coached the likes of Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson, Barry Manilow and Bob Dylan.

She died in Los Angeles on Tuesday (March 5), with no cause of death given.

Reacting to the news, Hudson – who rose to fame as a finalist in the 2004 season of American Idol – wrote: “Heartbroken over the passing of Debra Byrd, the vocal coach on American Idol. 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 a member of the band Lady Flash in the 1970s, who were the featured backing group for Barry Manilow, and had a hit in their own right with ‘Street Singin’, penned by the frontman, in 1976.

“This is one of the saddest days of my life,” the singer wrote in a social media post. “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.”

Byrd worked with Bob Dylan during his Hard to Handle tour with Tom Petty in 1986, and appeared herself on the soundtracks to films including The Lion King and Sister Act II.

She also had an acclaimed stage career, receiving a nomination in 2001 from the Black Theatre Alliance Awards for her role in Could It Be Magic. She also won acclaim for a starring role in the national touring company of Broadway hit Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk.

She was the chair of the vocal department at the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles and was an artist in residence at the Berklee College of Music.