Former ‘Pop Idol’ contestant Darius Campbell Danesh has died, aged 41

The Scottish singer was found dead in his home in the US

Darius Campbell Danesh, a Scottish singer and former contestant on the talent show Pop Idol, has died, aged 41.

The musician and theatre star was found dead in his home in Rochester, Minnesota, according to a statement from his family. No cause of death has been given at the time of writing.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Darius Campbell Danesh,” the statement read. “Darius was found unresponsive in bed in his apartment room in Rochester, Minnesota, on August 11 and was pronounced dead in the afternoon by the local medical examiner’s office.

“The local police department have confirmed that there were no signs of intent or suspicious circumstances. The cause of his sudden death is unknown at this stage while medical examinations continue.”

Darius Campbell Danesh
Darius Campbell Danesh in 2016 CREDIT: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

Danesh’s family concluded the statement by asking for privacy while they “come to terms with the tragic loss of our son and brother”.

The musician found fame when he appeared on the talent TV show Popstars in 2001. Although he did not make it into Hear’Say – the group formed by the winners of the series – Danesh was a popular contestant on the show and went on to appear in the first series of Pop Idol, in which he finished third.

After his success on Pop Idol, the singer released his debut single ‘Colourblind’ in July 2002 and scored a Number One on the Official UK Singles Chart. His debut album ‘Dive In’ – on which he co-wrote each of the 12 tracks – followed, entering the Top 10 of the Official UK Albums Chart.

After that, Danesh scored five Top 10 singles in the UK and a gold-certified album with his second LP ‘Live Twice’, which was released in 2004. Prior to that record, he supported Shakira on her live dates.

In 2010, he returned to TV screens as part of the talent show Popstar To Operastar, which he went on to win. That appearance led to him playing Escamillo in Carmen at London’s The O2 later that year, while 2010 also saw him take part in the History Of The Big Bands tour, showcasing the music of Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington and more.

Danesh enjoyed a successful career in the theatre, as well as in music, completing two runs in the West End production of Chicago between 2005 and 2006. At the time, he became the youngest actor to fulfil the role of Billy Flynn since the musical had first opened on Broadway in 1975. He also appeared in productions of Guys And Dolls, Gone With The Wind, Funny Girl, and From Here To Eternity over the years.

Tributes have begun to be paid to the star online, with X Factor judge Simon Cowell leading the outpouring of sadness. He wrote: “I first saw Darius on television over 20 years ago and I got to know him really well. He was charismatic, funny and just a great person to be with.

“His passing, for someone so young, is an absolute tragedy and my heart goes out to his family and friends.”

Danesh’s Pop Idol rival Gareth Gates added: “I can’t quite believe the news of my dear friend Darius passing. I’m heartbroken.“

“Darius took me under his wing during our time in Pop Idol, like a big brother; always looking out for me and for that I thank you my friend. I will miss our chats. He was one of the most beautiful, intelligent and gentle souls I was lucky enough to know, a soul that lit up every room.”

“Sad news of Darius’ shockingly untimely passing,” wrote actor and TV presenter Sanjeev Bhaskar. “He was a guest on The Kumars and couldn’t have been a nicer, warmer guest with a great sense of self-deprecation.”

BBC Radio 1’s Adele Roberts tweeted: “This is so sad. Thinking of Darius’ family and friends.”

Lorraine Kelly added: “This is really sad. Thoughts with his family and friends and everyone who loved him. A really good bloke – funny and kind and very talented.”

See more tributes below.

This is a developing story and will be updated. 

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