Tributes have flooded in for the former Pop Idol contestant Darius Campbell Danesh following his death, aged 41.
His cause of death remains unknown.
Simon Cowell, who was a judge on Pop Idol when Danesh finished in third place behind Gareth Gates and Will Young in 2002, said: “I first saw Darius on television over 20 years ago and I got to know him really well. He was charismatic, funny and just a great person to be with.
“His passing, for someone so young, is an absolute tragedy and my heart goes out to his family and friends.”
Darius Danesh - In pictures
Gates posted a tribute to Instagram, calling Danesh a “dear friend”.
He wrote: “I can’t quite believe the news of my dear friend Darius passing. I’m heartbroken.“Darius took me under his wing during our time in Pop Idol, like a big brother; always looking out for me and for that I thank you my friend. I will miss our chats. He was one of the most beautiful, intelligent and gentle souls I was lucky enough to know, a soul that lit up every room.”
Liberty X singer Jessica Pietersen tweeted: “I’m so sad. Darius was only 41. He was an absolute gentleman & I know all of us who did Popstars with him will remember him with huge fondness.
“He had a way of bringing us all together & had such a natural warmth about him. Rest in peace lovely man.”
Fellow Liberty X group singer Michelle Heaton tweeted: “So sad … thoughts with Darius family right now x always our Britney.”
Danesh first rose to fame on Pop Idol’s predecessor, Popstars, on ITV in 2001, after a theatrical cover of Britney Spears’ Baby One More Time.
Myleene Klass, who also found fame on Popstars with Hear’Say, alongside the Liberty X girls and Danesh, posted a tribute throwback image of the group.
Back at the very start. RIP Darius. x pic.twitter.com/eEoLi8mL69
— Myleene Klass (@KlassMyleene) August 16, 2022
She added an opera video clip of Danesh performing Dream the Impossible Dream with Rolando Villazon on Popstars, saying: “Everyone should watch this performance. Darius, you were so talented, so kind. A true family man. My thoughts are with them now.x”
Actor and comedian Sanjeev Bhaskar responded to Sky News’ announcement, tweeting: “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.”
So sad … thoughts with Darius family right now x always our Britney ❤️🌈
— michelle heaton (@wonderwomanshel) August 16, 2022
TV presenter Rylan also added: “Proper sad about Darius”, with a love heart.