Darius Campbell Danesh, ‘Pop Idol’ and UK stage star, dead at 41

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Scotsman Darius Campbell Danesh, who parlayed a third-place finish on a British reality show into a successful stage and music career, has died at the age of 41, his family confirmed.

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The singer’s family said Tuesday that he was found unresponsive in his apartment in Rochester, Minnesota, on Aug. 11 and pronounced dead by the local medical examiner’s office, The Associated Press reported.

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

A spokesperson for the Rochester Police Department confirmed to Variety that Campbell Danesh’s death is currently the subject of “an open investigation.”

According to the entertainment news site, Campbell Danesh burst into the spotlight in 2001, with his rendition of Britney Spears’ “Hit Me Baby One More Time” on U.K. singing competition “Pop Stars.” The following year he also appeared on the first season of British “Americon Idol” prototype “Pop Idol,” finishing third behind Will Young and Gareth Gates.

His single “Colourblind,” from his debut album “Dive In,” topped the U.K. charts in 2002, and he went on to land major musical roles, including West End productions of “Chicago” and “Guys and Dolls,” AP reported.

Tributes were paid by fans and celebrities including record producer Simon Cowell, who was a judge on “Pop Idol,” the BBC reported.

“I first saw Darius on television over 20 years ago, and I got to know him really well,” Cowell said, adding, “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.”

According to the BBC, Campbell Danesh was born in Glasgow in 1980 to a Scottish mother and an Iranian father, and he studied English literature and philosophy at the University of Edinburgh before pursuing a career as a performer.

Campbell Danesh also served as co-executive producer on the 2016 horror film “Imperium,” starring Daniel Radcliffe. He married actress Natasha Henstridge in California in 2011. The pair divorced a few years later.

- The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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