Pop Idol star Darius Danesh has died aged 41 ahead of TV comeback

Darius Danesh starred on ITVs Pop Idol and was due to return to screens before his death.

Darius Danesh has died
(Image credit: Getty)

Popstars and Pop Idol star Darius Danesh has died aged 41 ahead of a TV comeback.

The singer, who notably auditioned on the 2001 reality show Popstars with his cover of Britney Spears' hit ...Baby One More Time, cut off his ponytail and changed his outlook before re-auditioning the following year for Pop Idol. 

He came third in the contest behind Gareth Gates and Will Young. After the show, he went on to release a number one single Colourblind, which hit the top spot in the UK singles chart and have a successful stage career.

But a statement released by family announced news that he has been found dead in his US apartment.

It reads, "It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Darius Campbell Danesh," they said in a statement. "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."

Darius Danesh has died

(Image credit: Getty)

And in paying tribute to the talented star, record producer and former Popstars judge Pete Waterman revealed that he was in talks to re-launch his music career.

Speaking on ITV's Good Morning Britain, Pete paid tribute, "He was an amazing talent - we became great friends as I did champion him when he was on Pop Idol. He was the most lovely person. He never called me Pete. He always called me Peter. He was so polite, and so talented.

"At 41, my heart goes out to his family because it’s terrible losing a sibling. He was just brilliant. The word gentleman is overused but not in Darius’ case. So quiet, so polite, so gentle, I guess he was the perfect person. So gentle. No cross words. He didn’t get angry."

He went on to reveal the pair met up before the 2020 lockdown.

Pete explained, "We were talking about me going to work with him in the States to mentor him because he wanted to get back into music. Darius wanted to do too much. He had too much talent. Darius could have gone on to be bigger than Michael Buble.

"I know that sounds silly but sometimes you have to focus on what you really really want." 

Sources close to Darius claim he was hugely 'excited' for his reported Pop Idol reunion - a TV special being made by Thames TV - just weeks before he died.

A friend told the Sun newspaper, “He was really excited about the reunion and was in talks with producers to appear on it. They were looking at getting filming started around the end of September. It was going to be an hour-and a-half-long special hosted by Ant and Dec and full of nostalgia for the millions of Pop Idol fans."

And former Pop Idol star Gareth Gates has since paid tribute to Darius, he said, "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. He added, "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. Good bye my friend. Forever in my heart x"

Meanwhile Simon Cowell, also paid tribute, he 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.”

Selina Maycock
Senior Entertainment Writer

Selina is currently a Senior Entertainment Writer for Goodto.com, formerly Senior Entertainment writer for Woman&Home, and My Imperfect Life with more than 16 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She currently writes a mix of Entertainment news - including celebrity births, weddings, reporting the the latest news about the Royal kids Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet as well as Family news stories from baby names to store closures and product recall warnings. Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand. When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories.