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Darius Campbell Danesh, former ‘Pop Idol’ contestant and West End star, dies at 41

The Scottish singer was reportedly found dead in an apartment in Rochester, Minnesota.
Darius Campbell performs in the Beatles Philharmonic Tribute at Royal Albert Hall on October 28, 2010 in London, England.
Darius Campbell performs in the Beatles Philharmonic Tribute at Royal Albert Hall on October 28, 2010 in London, England.Danny Martindale / Getty Images

Darius Campbell Danesh, former “Pop Idol” contestant and West End star, has died, the BBC reports. He was 41.

The singer, who was Scottish, was reportedly found dead in an apartment in Rochester, Minnesota on Thursday, Aug. 11. A spokesperson for the Rochester police department told Variety his death is currently the subject of “an open investigation.”

The spokesperson would not comment on whether there were any suspicious circumstances.

Danesh was catapulted into the public eye in 2001 with his rendition of Britney Spears chart-topper "Baby One More Time” on a U.K. singing competition show called “Popstars” The following year he also appeared on the first season of British “American Idol” prototype “Pop Idol,” finishing third behind Will Young and Gareth Gates.

Danesh went on to release a single, “Colourblind,” which reached the number one spot on the U.K. Singles Chart, while a follow-up album, “Dive In,” made it on the top 10.

He subsequently went on to appear in West End shows including “Chicago,” in which he appeared alongside America Ferrera, “Funny Girl,” alongside Sheridan Smith, and “Guys and Dolls.”

Danesh also produced a number of films, including a documentary titled “Fountain of Youth” and a horror feature, “House Red,” starring his ex-wife Natasha Henstridge and model-turned-actor Clara Paget.

The BBC quoted a statement from Danesh’s family, which read: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Darius Campbell Danesh. 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 examiners’ 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.

“We ask that you kindly respect our wishes for privacy at this time whilst we come to terms with the tragic loss of our son and brother.”

ITV, the network which broadcast both “Popstars” and “Pop Idol,” also released a statement, saying: “Darius was a much loved and memorable part of both the ‘Popstars’ and ‘Pop Idol’ series, and our thoughts and sympathies are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

British television stars have also paid tribute to the singer. Host Rylan Clark-Neal wrote on social media, “Proper sad about Darius” while daytime presenter Lorraine Kelly tweeted: “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.”

Music exec-turned-radio host Nicki Chapman, who was a judge on both “Popstars” and “Pop Idol,” also added her condolences on Twitter.

“There will only ever be one Darius Campbell Danesh,” she wrote. “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.”