Pop Idol and West End star Darius Campbell Danesh found dead in apartment aged 41

Following the death of singer and actor Darius Campbell Danesh, Entertainment ReporterRishi Davda looks back at the star's career highlights.

Tributes have been paid to former Pop Idol contestant and West End star Darius Campbell Danesh who has died aged 41.

The Scottish singer and actor was found dead in his US apartment room in Rochester, Minnesota, on August 11, his family announced.

The cause of his death remains unknown.

His old mentor and Pop Idol judge Simon Cowell remembered Campbell Danesh as "charismatic, funny and just a great person to be with".

In a statement issued by following Campbell Danesh's death, his family 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 singer first rose to fame after appearing on ITV show Popstars in 2001. Credit: PA

The star - known then as Darius Danesh - rose to fame in the ITV show Popstars in 2001 and also appeared on the first Pop Idol coming third behind Will Young and Gareth Gates.

His debut single, Colourblind, was released in July 2002 and went straight to number one, marking the start of a run of top 10 releases.

He went on to forge a successful stage career, appearing in Chicago as Billy Flynn in two runs of the production, as well as Guys And Dolls, Gone With The Wind and more in the West End.

Campbell Danesh lived in the US and found love with Canadian actress Natasha Henstridge, whose films include sci-fi hit Species.

The couple married in 2011 at the San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara, California, but divorced a few years later.

After coming third in Pop Idol in 2010, he went on to win the first series of ITV’s Popstar To Operastar contest, beating Bernie Nolan of the Nolan Sisters in a close final.

A few months after his win on the ITV show, which featured Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins and Mexican-born tenor Rolando Villazon as judges, he landed his first major opera role as he was cast in a new production of Carmen at London’s O2 Arena.

He took on the principal role of toreador Escamillo in the production, for a one-off performance which marked the first ever opera at the venue at the time.

In 2011, speaking about reprising the role of Chicago’s scheming lawyer Flynn, he said he had based his portrayal of the character on Simon Cowell.

Darius Campbell Danesh with Chicago co-star America Ferrera. Credit: PA

Campbell Danesh, who starred opposite Ugly Betty star America Ferrera in the musical set in prohibition-era Chicago, said: “He’s the consummate businessman and a wonderful guy and there’s a lot of Simon Cowell in Billy Flynn in terms of the way he approaches things and I recognise that in terms of the character.”

He credited Cowell with persuading him to take on the role in Chicago in the first place.

He said: “I’m incredibly grateful for the experiences I’ve had and all the opportunities that it opened up and to be able to call Simon Cowell a friend and to be able to have dinner with him.”

Paying tribute to him after the singer's death, Cowell said Campbell Danesh 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,” he said in a statement.Campbell Danesh was born in Glasgow to a Scottish mother and Iranian father.

The eldest of three boys, he attended Bearsden primary school before studying English literature and philosophy at the University of Edinburgh.

Although he found fame as Darius Danesh, he later changed his name to incorporate his mother Avril’s maiden name Campbell, after an emotional visit to his grandfather in a Paisley nursing home made him reflect on his Scottish heritage.

He became a supporter of cancer charities including Cancer Research UK after both his parents recovered from the disease.

Campbell Danesh went on to forge a successful stage career.

He also made a foray into Hollywood as a co-executive producer on the horror film Imperium starring Daniel Radcliffe in 2016.

Stars of stage and television paid tribute to the singer.

Presenter and former member of Hear’Say Myleene Klass tweeted a link to a video of Campbell Danesh performing, along with a caption that read: “Everyone should watch this performance. Darius, you were so talented, so kind. A true family man. My thoughts are with them now.x”West End actress and singer Carrie Hope Fletcher tweeted: "This is such sad news" and shared a broken heart emoji.

TV and radio presenter Nicki Chapman has said Campbell Danesh was a "true gent". Chapman, 55, who was a judge on Popstars while Campbell Danesh was a contestant on the show in 2001, tweeted: "There will only ever be one Darius Campbell Danesh. "A true gent with a kind soul & mischievous tinkle in his eye. From that eventful first audition on Popstars to him kindly inviting me to see him perform on the West End stage. "Thoughts are with his family at this sad time." Chapman was later a judge on music competition series Pop Idol, on which Campbell Danesh also starred.

Liberty X member Jessica Taylor, whose group was formed on Popstars, 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.”

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