Former pop idol finalist and theatre star Darius Campbell Danesh was found dead in his Minnesota apartment at the age of 41, according to his family. The singer -actor was found dead on August 11 in Rochester, under mysterious circumstances. However, the exact cause of death is still unknown.
Danesh was among the first generation of reality pop singers to experience fast popularity and criticism in equal measure. The Scot finished third on Pop Idol behind Gareth Gates and Will Young in 2002. Later that year, he debuted at number one in the UK with Colorblind, while his album "Dive In" peaked at number 10.
Although police believe that there was no foul play involved, the exact cause of death is still unknown and nothing can be ruled out. Police have already launched an investigation. "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," a statement from the family read.
"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 statement further added.
Danesh declined Simon Cowell's offer of a record deal after winning Pop Idol in 2002. Instead, he signed with producer Steve Lillywhite, whose clients include U2 and the Rolling Stones. His first song, "Colorblind", debuted in July 2002 and immediately reached the top spot, beginning a string of top 10 releases.
Danesh went on to become a West End sensation after his chart-topping performance, making appearances in shows like Chicago and the Olivier Award-winning Guys and Dolls.
End of an Eventful Career
Campbell, who studied English literature and philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, was born in Glasgow in 1980 to a Scottish mother and an Iranian father. His eclectic rendition of Britney Spears' hit song "Baby One More Time" on the ITV competition series Popstars in 2001 was his first attempt at fame.
Although he was rejected by the band, the next year he appeared in the inaugural Pop Idol which was won by Will Young.
The Scottish performer went on to carve out a successful career in theatre, playing in "Guys and Dolls", "Gone With the Wind", and other West End productions in addition to two performances as Billy Flynn in Chicago.
However, he resided in the United States and was married there in 2011 to Canadian actress Natasha Henstridge, whose credits include the sci-fi blockbuster "Species". A few years later, they separated.
Actress Carrie Hope Fletcher tweeted today in response to the news of his death, "This is such sad news" and shared a broken heart emoji.
Danesh survived a deadly car accident in which he injured his neck. He spoke about the incident in an interview with Hello! magazine in 2010. The singer was a passenger in a Porsche that had slid on oil and collided with a wall at 70 mph while on a sun vacation in Spain.
Darius was left seriously ill in 2017 when he collapsed and went into a near-fatal coma after promoting water filters for the Frech2o safe drinking charity.
After finishing third on Pop Idol in 2010, he went on to defeat Bernie Nolan of the Nolan Sisters in the final to win the first series of ITV's Popstar To Operastar competition.
A few months after winning the ITV competition, in which Mexican-born tenor Rolando Villazon and Welsh vocalist Katherine Jenkins served as judges, he was given his first significant opera part when he was chosen to perform in a brand-new production of Carmen at London's O2 Arena.
He took on the lead role of toreador Escamillo in the production for a one-time performance that was the first opera ever at the location.
He found more fame under the name Darius Danesh but he later decided to adopt his mother Avril Campbell's maiden name after an emotional visit to his grandfather at a Paisley nursing home caused him to consider his Scottish ancestry.
After both of his parents were diagnosed with cancer and beat it, he started supporting cancer charities like Cancer Research UK.