American Idol stars pay tribute to former contestant Nikki McKibbin after she dies

Stephanie Chase
·3-min read
Photo credit: Jeffrey Mayer - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jeffrey Mayer - Getty Images

From Digital Spy

Tributes have been paid to former American Idol contestant Nikki McKibbin, who has died at the age of 42.

The tragic news was announced on social media by her husband Craig Sadler, who confirmed that she died following an aneurysm.

"She would already be gone, but she's an organ donor and has been kept on life support to make that possible," he wrote. "That shouldn't be a surprise to us. Even at the end she is still giving. She was so loved that I know thousands of you will be grieving with us."

Photo credit: FOX - Getty Images
Photo credit: FOX - Getty Images

McKibbin appeared on the first season of American Idol in 2002, placing third behind Justin Guarini and winner Kelly Clarkson.

In 2014 she returned to American Idol to accompany her son Tristen Langley, who auditioned for the show's 13th season.

American Idol host Ryan Seacrest was among those to pay tribute to McKibbin, writing: "Nikki was a superstar the moment she walked into auditions - she set the bar high with her talent and memorable stage presence.

"It was an honor to watch her grow and inspire millions of people. Our hearts go out to her family, friends, and fans who are grieving this tragic loss."

Judge Paula Abdul added: "Nikki McKibbin was a strong & spirited woman who always stayed true to who she was. She could bring the house down with her powerful voice and captivating stage presence. Our first season of Idol would not have been what it was without her. My love & prayers go out to her family."

Fellow American Idol season one star Guarini also remembered McKibbin as a "fiery, funny lady who could sing the hell out of a rock song".

"Even in our 20s when we were on American Idol together I could tell that she'd had a challenging life, and that not that many people had been kind to her along the way," he wrote on Instagram. "But I'll never forget the day that her idol, Stevie Nicks, sent her flowers with a card that said 'You are the Gypsy that I was...'

"Nikki was on cloud nine and the joy and excitement that radiated from her was infectious. After the kind of emotional beating she took at the hands of the masses, she deserved to feel good about herself, even for a little while. ⁣

"Rest well, 'Gypsy'...and thank you for the laughter, merciless teasing, strength, vulnerability, love and friendship you showed me during our time together in the spotlight."

The official American Idol Twitter account also paid tribute to McKibbin, writing: "Nikki McKibbin was an incredible talent and we are deeply saddened by the news of her passing.

"She was part of our American Idol family and will be truly missed. Our hearts and prayers go out to her family and friends during this difficult time."

Digital Spy has launched its first-ever digital magazine with exclusive features, interviews, and videos. Access the latest edition with a 1-month free trial, only on Apple News+.

Interested in Digital Spy's weekly newsletter? Sign up to get it sent straight to your inbox – and don't forget to join our Watch This Facebook Group for daily TV recommendations and discussions with other readers.

You Might Also Like