'Pop Idol' star Darius Danesh has died aged 41
Watch: Former Pop Idol star Darius Campbell Danesh dies aged 41
Former Pop Idol contestant and theatre star Darius Campbell Danesh has been found dead in his US apartment at the age of 41, his family has announced.
The singer and actor was found in Rochester, Minnesota, on 11 August - although the cause of death remains unknown.
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A statement said: “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.”
Tributes began to pour in for the star, with Rylan Clark who began his career on The X Factor tweeting: "Proper sad about Darius."
Actor Sanjeev Bhaskar wrote: "Sad news of Darius’ shockingly untimely passing. He was a guest on The Kumars and couldn’t have been a nicer, warmer guest with a great sense of self deprecation."
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Radio presenter and former Big Brother contestant Adele Roberts wrote: "This is so sad. Thinking of Darius’ family and friends."
Danesh was best known for coming third in the first series of Pop Idol in 2002, which Will Young won and where Gareth Gates was runner-up.
After the show ended, he had a number one hit with the single 'Colourblind' in 2002.
However, he had also taken part in the 2001 series Popstars and after Pop Idol he went on to win the first series of ITV’s Popstar To Operastar contest, launching his stage career.
A few months after his win on the ITV show, which featured Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins as one of the judges, he landed his first major opera role as he was cast in a new production of Carmen at London’s O2 Arena.
He also starred in productions of Chicago, Guys and Dolls, and Gone With the Wind, crediting his early success on Simon Cowell's talent show with helping him build a theatre career.
He said: “I’m incredibly grateful for the experiences I’ve had and all the opportunities that it opened up and to be able to call Simon Cowell a friend and to be able to have dinner with him.”
Danesh lived in the US and found love with Canadian actress Natasha Henstridge, whose films include sci-fi hit Species.
The couple married in 2011 at the San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara, California, but were divorced a few years later.
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Danesh was born in Glasgow to a Scottish mother and Iranian father and was the eldest of three boys.
Although he found fame as Darius Danesh, he later changed his name to incorporate his mother Avril’s maiden name, Campbell, after an emotional visit to his grandfather in a Paisley nursing home made him reflect on his Scottish heritage.
He became a supporter of cancer charities including Cancer Research UK after both his parents were diagnosed with cancer and recovered.
He also made a foray into Hollywood as a co-executive producer on the horror film Imperium starring Daniel Radcliffe in 2016.
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