Gene Simmons leads Twitter tributes to Chris Hardman, aka Lil Chris

Singer and star of TV's Rock School passed away this morning

Noted musicians, pop stars and other celebrities have taken to Twitter to pay their respects to Chris Hardman, aka Lil Chris, who passed away this morning, aged 24.

The singer was known for starring in Channel 4’s Rock School in 2006, a show that saw Gene Simmons of Kiss take over a school in east Anglia and teach the students music.

Hardman went on to sign to RCA Records and released debut single ‘Checkin’ It Out’ in September 2006, which went straight into the UK Top Five. A debut album followed later that year. He also starred in the West End musical Loserville in 2012.

News of Hardman’s death was first announced by friend and collaborator Lloyd Wilkinson, who wrote on Facebook: “I can not believe I’m doing this and I’m completely devastated. Rest in peace brother bear. Love you mate. Chris Hardman aka Lil’ Chris.”

Leading the tributes has been Simmons, who posted a photograph of the Rock School cast, with the words: “Sad to report Lil Chris from the Gene Simmons Rock School TV show, has passed on. He was loved. RIP, Lil Chris.”

McBusted members James Bourne, Tom Fletcher and Danny Jones have also spoken of their sadness. Bourne posted: “Chris . I will miss you . Your friendship and your talent ! Rest in peace,” while Fletcher added, “Can’t tell you how absolutely tragic it is to hear about Chris. Such a sweet, lovely dude. So shocked and sad.”

Former X Factor contestant Jake Quickenden toured with Hardman and has called him a “lovely down to earth lad”, adding, “Where ever you are be happy and keep singing mate”.

Away from music, BT Sport presenter Jake Humphrey wrote “RIP @CJHardman. Lil Chris, big talent…pleasure to know you buddy…”

View these tributes and more below.