Former Pop Idol star Darius Campbell Danesh dies aged 41

Former Pop Idol contestant and stage star Darius Campbell Danesh has been found dead in his US apartment at the age of 41, his family has announced.

The singer-actor was found dead in Rochester, Minnesota, on August 11 – although the cause of death is still unknown.

A statement said: “We are saddened to 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 by the local medical examiner’s office that afternoon.

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

“We ask that you please respect our wishes for privacy at this time while we accept the tragic loss of our son and brother.”


America Ferrera and Darius Campbell outside the Garrick Theater in London (Ian West/PA)

The Scottish singer-songwriter and actor – who was known as Darius Danesh when he first rose to fame on ITV’s Popstars in 2001 – also appeared in the first Pop Idol, Will’s triumph. Young.

After Pop Idol, Campbell Danesh turned down Simon Cowell’s offer to sign a record contract and signed with producer Steve Lillywhite, whose credits include U2 and the Rolling Stones.

His debut single, Colourblind, was released in July 2002 and went straight to number one, marking the beginning of a series of top releases.

He went on to forge a successful theatrical career, appearing in Chicago as Billy Flynn in two productions, as well as Guys And Dolls, Gone With The Wind and many others in the West End.

He lives in America and found love with Canadian actress Natasha Henstridge, whose filmography includes science fiction Species.

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Darius Campbell Danesh and Natasha Henstridge in 2013 (dpa/Alamy Live News/PA photo alliance)

The couple married in 2011 at the San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara, California, but divorced a few years later.

In 2010, he spoke with Hello! magazine about a car accident in which he broke his neck.

The singer was once a passenger in a Porsche when it hit a wall at 70 km/h after slipping on oil during a sunny vacation in Spain.

After finishing third in Pop Idol in 2010, he went on to win the first series of ITV’s Popstar To Operastar competition, defeating Bernie Nolan of the Nolan Sisters in the close final.

A few months after his win on the ITV show, which featured Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins and Mexican-born tenor Rolando Villazon as judges, he landed his first major opera role starring in Carmen’s new play. at the O2 Arena in London.

He took over the lead role of Escamillo editor during the production, for a one-off performance that marked the first opera at the venue at the time.

In 2011, talking about taking on the role of Chicago Flynn’s scheming lawyer, he said he based his portrayal of the character on his former mentor and Pop Idol judge. , Simon Cowell.

Campbell starred opposite Ugly Betty’s America Ferrera star in the musical set in Prohibition-era Chicago, and said: “He’s a good businessman and a great guy and there’s a lot of Simon Cowell at Billy Flynn about how he approached things and me. recognize it in terms of character. “

He credits Cowell for convincing him to take the role in Chicago in the first place.

He said: “I’m incredibly grateful for the experience I’ve had and all the opportunities it has opened up and being able to call Simon Cowell a friend and be able to have dinner with him.”

Campbell Danesh was born in Glasgow to a Scottish mother and Iranian father.

The eldest of three boys, he attended Bearsden Primary School before studying English literature and philosophy at the University of Edinburgh.

Though best known as Darius Danesh, he later changed his name to incorporate Avril’s mother’s maiden name, Campbell, after an emotional visit with his grandfather in a Paisley nursing home left him contemplating. reflect on his Scottish heritage.

He became a supporter of cancer charities including Cancer Research UK after both his father and mother were diagnosed with cancer and recovered.

He also broke into Hollywood as a co-executive producer of the horror film Imperium, starring Daniel Radcliffe, in 2016.

News of his death prompted tributes from the worlds of music, film and television.

Liberty X member Michelle Heaton, who also competes on Popstars, tweeted: “So sad… thoughts with the Darius family right now x always our Britney.”

West End actress and singer Carrie Hope Fletcher wrote on Twitter: “This is so sad news” and shared a broken heart emoji.

British-born actor Matthew Marsden described the news as “really heartbreaking”.

He added: “I first met Darius when he auditioned for Weather Man at Big Breakfast many years ago. He is a wonderful person. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.” Former Pop Idol star Darius Campbell Danesh dies aged 41

Fry Electronics Team

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