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U.K. singer Darius Campbell Danesh, ‘Pop Idol’ runner-up, found dead in Minnesota at 41

Danesh, who was Scottish, was found dead in an apartment in Rochester on Thursday.
Image: Darius Campbell Danesh at The Float Like A Butterfly Ball on Oct. 19, 2018 in London.
Darius Campbell Danesh at the Float Like a Butterfly Ball in London on Oct. 19, 2018.David M. Benett / Getty Images
/ Source: Variety

Darius Campbell Danesh, the “Pop Idol” runner-up and West End Star has died, police said. He was 41.

The singer, who was Scottish, was 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 “Hit Me Baby One More Time” on one of the U.K.’s singing competition shows, “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.

Danesh went onto release a single, “Colourblind,” which reached the number one spot in the U.K. charts, while a follow-up album, “Dive In,” was a Top 10 hit.

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.”