Singer and actor Darius Campbell Danesh, who achieved household fame on ITV talent shows Popstars and Pop Idol, has died at the age of 41.
In a statement, his family confirmed he was found dead in his US apartment room.
Danesh memorably came third on Pop Idol behind Will Young and Gareth Gates in 2002 and went on to forge a West End career, appearing in shows such as Chicago and Guys and Dolls.
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.”
The Scottish star, who was born in Glasgow, first rose to fame when he appeared on Popstars in 2001 (under the name Darius Danesh) and delivered an unforgettable performance of Britney Spears’ ‘Baby One More Time’.
He then appeared on the first series of Pop Idol in 2002 and reached the finals of the competition. He turned down a lucrative offer from Simon Cowell and instead signed with Steve Lillywhite, releasing the debut single ‘Colourblind’, which shot straight to number one in the UK, and was certified silver. He went on to release his debut album, Dive In, in 2004.
Further success beckoned with West End roles as Billy Flynn in Chicago, Nick Arnstein in Funny Girl, Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls and Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind.
In 2011, Campbell Danesh married Canadian actress Natasha Henstridge. After announcing their separation two years after their wedding, their divorce was finalised in 2018.
Paying tribute, Rylan Clark-Neal said: “Proper sad about Darius.”
Lorraine Kelly added: “This is really sad. Thoughts with his family and friends and everyone who loved him. A really good bloke – funny and kind and very talented.”