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Darius Campbell Danesh, Former 'Pop Idol' Contestant and West End Musical Star, Dead at 41

·3-min read
Darius Campbell attends The Float Like A Butterfly Ball 2018, the annual black tie boxing gala in aid of Caudwell Children, at The Grosvenor House Hotel on October 19, 2018 in London, England.
Darius Campbell attends The Float Like A Butterfly Ball 2018, the annual black tie boxing gala in aid of Caudwell Children, at The Grosvenor House Hotel on October 19, 2018 in London, England.

David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Darius Campbell Danesh

Darius Campbell Danesh, who rose to fame as a contestant on the British music competition series Pop Idol two decades ago and went on to star in multiple productions on London's West End, has died. He was 41.

The Scottish singer was found dead in his Rochester, Minnesota, apartment on Aug. 11, according to a statement from his family given to Deadline. His cause of death is currently unknown.

"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Darius Campbell Danesh," the family said in the statement released Tuesday. "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," they continued. "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."

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Born in Glasgow, Campbell Danesh first found fame in 2001 when he did a theatrical cover of Britney Spears' "Baby One More Time" on the British talent competition show Popstars. A year later, he placed third on ITV's Pop Idol, behind Will Young and Gareth Gates.

After the show, he turned down a record deal from Pop Idol judge Simon Cowell, choosing instead to sign with producer Steve Lillywhite. Lillywhite collaborated with Campbell Danesh on his debut single "Colourblind," which spent two weeks at No. 1 on the U.K. charts.

Campbell Danesh went on to have four more U.K. top 10 singles over the next three years: "Rushes," "Incredible (What I Meant To Say)," "Kinda Love" and "Live Twice." He also toured with artists such as Shakira and Alanis Morissette.

Starting in 2005, Campbell Danesh found new acclaim as a West End star, appearing in musicals like Guys and Dolls, Chicago, Funny Girl, From Here to Eternity and Gone with the Wind. In 2010, he also won the ITV show Popstar to Operastar, which followed eight pop stars as they trained to perform famous opera arias.

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Campbell Danesh married Canadian actress Natasha Henstridge in 2011, and they divorced two years later.

In 2017, Campbell Danesh made headlines when he accidentally drank sewage water from the River Thames in England and contracted near-fatal meningitis. In an interview with the Sunday Post after the incident, he said he was "lucky" to be alive.

After news of his death, tributes from Campbell Danesh's fellow stars poured in, including from British TV presenter and former X-Factor contestant Rylan Clark.

"Proper sad about Darius," Clark tweeted.

The Kumars actor Sanjeev Bhaskar remembered the time Campbell Danesh guest starred on the series in 2002, writing on Twitter that he "couldn't have been a nicer, warmer guest with a great sense of self deprecation."