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.”
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.”
Sad news of Darius’ shockingly untimely passing. He was a guest on The Kumars and couldn’t have been a nicer, warmer guest with a great sense of self deprecation. https://t.co/pkFzFbxSSM
— Sanjeev Bhaskar💙 (@TVSanjeev) August 16, 2022
BBC Radio 1’s Adele Roberts tweeted: “This is so sad. Thinking of Darius’ family and friends.”
This is so sad. Thinking of Darius’ family and friends. https://t.co/X1kxzXcmOe
— Adele Roberts (@AdeleRoberts) August 16, 2022
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.”
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 https://t.co/Opo5y47ibv
— Lorraine (@reallorraine) August 16, 2022
See more tributes below.
Back at the very start. RIP Darius. x pic.twitter.com/eEoLi8mL69
— Myleene Klass (@KlassMyleene) August 16, 2022
I’m so sad. Darius was only 41. He was an absolute gentleman & I know all of us who did Popstars with him will remember him with huge fondness. He had a way of bringing us all together & had such a natural warmth about him. Rest in peace lovely man ♥️
— Jessica Pietersen (@JessicaLibertyX) August 16, 2022
So sad … thoughts with Darius family right now x always our Britney ❤️🌈
— michelle heaton (@wonderwomanshel) August 16, 2022
There will only ever be one Darius Campbell Danesh.
A true gent with a kind soul & mischievous tinkle in his eye. From that eventful first audition on Popstars to him kindly inviting me to see him perform on the West End stage
Thoughts are with his family at this sad time pic.twitter.com/HaIlEUM11l
— Nicki Chapman (@Nicki_Chapman) August 16, 2022
Proper sad about Darius ❤️
— R Y L A N (@Rylan) August 16, 2022
This is a tough business & even tougher when you have learn your lessons in public. Darius came back stronger & didn't let other people's judgements define him. Gone way too soon 💔 thoughts with his family, friends & fans #RipDarius 🙏 https://t.co/gOUpsgt6l4
— John Byrne (@dearjohnbyrne) August 16, 2022
I know the Pop Idol clips are irresistible but Darius had a great career on stage over two decades. He was a really talented performer. pic.twitter.com/00x1FQM1Ra
— Duncan Golestani (@DuncanGolestani) August 16, 2022
DARIUS! Oh lord how sad! I loved him…I ADORED that he was half Iranian ❤️ made me proud. God life is unfathamable. So bloody sad
— Shaparak Khorsandi 🌻💙💛 (@ShappiKhorsandi) August 16, 2022
Darius was a lovely bloke. I got to know him quite well twenty-odd years ago. He came across as very confident and ambitious on TV but away from the cameras he was gentle, generous, humble & utterly devoted to his little brothers. What a sad, sad day for them and their family.
— James Oh Brien (@mrjamesob) August 16, 2022
I was an unabashed, life long Darius fan. I saw him sing live three times… I remember how excited I was the day I got to meet him. He was kind to me. I can only imagine how devastated his family are. It's a sad day. pic.twitter.com/vMr0qFv33q
— Ashley Storrie (@ashleystorrie) August 16, 2022
Terribly sad to hear the news of fellow Scotsman Darius sudden death. He was a very talented, genuine and personable young man. My condolences to his family.
John Barrowman mbe #ripdarius pic.twitter.com/39L4VqCprN
— John Barrowman MBE (@JohnBarrowman) August 16, 2022
This is tragic news.Thinking of his family and friends at this time.
R.I.P Darius Campbell Danesh https://t.co/QU98Wlr2wr
— tamzin outhwaite (@mouthwaite) August 16, 2022
This is a developing story and will be updated.