Darius Campbell Danesh: Former Pop Idol contestant and theatre star found dead aged 41 | Ents & Arts News

Former Pop Idol contestant and stage star Darius Campbell Danesh has died aged 41, his family has announced.

The singer was found dead in his US apartment in Minnesota on August 11, but his cause of death remains unknown.

“We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Darius Campbell Danesh,” an announcement was made by his family.

“The local police department has confirmed that there are no signs of intent or suspicious circumstances. The cause of his sudden death has not been determined at this stage, while medical examinations are done. still continue.

“We ask that you please respect our wishes for privacy at this time while we accept the tragic loss of our son and brother.”

& # 39;  Pop Idol & # 39;  - Darius Danesh in 2002. Photo: Fremantle Media / Shutterstock
Darius Campbell Danesh on Pop Idol in 2002. Photo: Fremantle Media / Shutterstock

Born in Glasgow to a Scottish mother and Iranian father, Campbell Danesh was the eldest of three boys and attended Bearsden Primary School before studying English literature and philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. .

He first came to prominence on ITV’s Popstars in 2001, where he became known for his Baby One More Time audition performance by Britney.

He then placed third in the first Pop Idol award, won by Will Young, with some of his memorable performances including performances of Tom Jones’ hit It Not Unusual and Atomic Kitten’s Whole Again.

His debut single, Colourblind, was released in July 2002 and went straight to number one.

The Scottish singer-songwriter later had a successful stage career, appearing in West End shows such as Chicago, in which he played Billy Flynn, Guys And Dolls, Gone With The Wind and Funny Girl .

Campbell Danesh stars alongside Ugly Betty’s America Ferrera in the musical set in Prohibition-era Chicago.

Talking about his role as Flynn, the actor previously said that he based his portrayal of the character on his former mentor and Pop Idol judge, Simon Cowell.

Darius Campbell and Sheridan Smith in the musical Funny Girl 2015. Photo: Dan Wooller / Shutterstock
Darius Campbell Danesh and Sheridan Smith in the musical Funny Girl 2015. Photo: Dan Wooller / Shutterstock

“He’s a good businessman and a great guy and there’s a lot of Simon Cowell in Billy Flynn in terms of how he approaches things and I recognize that in terms of the character,” he said.

He credits Mr Cowell for convincing him to take on the role in the first place, saying he is “extremely grateful” for the opportunities he has been given and “can call Simon Cowell a friend”.

After Pop Idol, he won the first series of ITV’s Popstar To Operastar competition in 2010, defeating the Nolan Sisters’ Bernie Nolan in the tight final.

A few months after his win, which featured Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins and Mexican-born tenor Rolando Villazon as judges, he landed his first major opera role in the production of Carmen at the O2 Arena. in London, starring as screenwriter Escamillo.

Darius Campbell Danesh
Photo: James Gourley / Shutterstock

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The same year, Campbell Danesh spoke to Hello! magazine about a car accident in which he broke his neck.

He was a passenger in a Porsche when it hit a wall at 70 km/h in Spain after slipping on oil.

In 2011 in Santa Barbara, California, he married Canadian actress Natasha Henstridge, known for her role in the science fiction film Species.

However, the couple divorced a few years later.

‘A real man with a kind soul and mischievous sparkling eyes’

The news of his death prompted tributes from figures in music and television, with fellow pop star Michelle Heaton saying her thoughts were with his family.

The Liberty X member, who also competes on Popstars, tweeted: “So sad… thoughts with the Darius family right now, always our Britney.”

British-born actor Matthew Marsden described the news as “really heartbreaking”.

He added: “I first met Darius when he auditioned for the show Big Breakfast Weather many years ago. He’s such a wonderful human being. My thoughts and prayers are all going forward. his family.”

TV and radio host Nicki Chapman, who served as a judge on Popstars while Campbell Danesh was a contestant, described him as a real man with a kind soul and eyes mischievous sparkle”.

“There will only be one Darius Campbell Danesh,” she added.

“From that exciting first audition on Popstars, he kindly invited me to see him perform on the West End stage. My thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”

After both his father and mother were diagnosed with cancer and recovered, Campbell Danesh became an advocate for several charities, including Cancer Research UK.

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