Former Pop Idol star Darius Danesh dies aged 41

The singer and actor was found in Rochester, Minnesota, on August 11 – although the cause of death remains unknown.

Former Pop Idol star Darius Danesh dies aged 41 Getty Images

Former Pop Idol contestant and theatre star Darius Campbell Danesh has been found dead in his US apartment at the age of 41, his family announced.

The singer of number one hit Colourblind was found in Rochester, Minnesota, on August 11 – the cause of death remains unknown.

The Scot came third on Pop Idol in 2002 behind Will Young and Gareth Gates. He went onto release Colourblind which marked a series of top ten hits.

Rochester Police Department responded to a report of a deceased person at 11.53am on Thursday last week at Berkman Apartments complex.

A spokesperson for the force said the deceased was identified as Campbell Danesh. They said the cause of his death is still to be ascertained but that there was no known threat to the public.

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.”

Born in Glasgow in 1980 to a Scottish mother and an Iranian father, Campbell Danesh went to Glasgow Academy in the city’s West End before going on to study English Literature and Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh.

Known as Darius Danesh, the Glaswegian singer-songwriter made his first bid for fame on ITV’s Popstars in 2001.

He also appeared on the first series of Pop Idol, which featured Gareth Gates and was won by Will Young.

The Scottish Pop Idol star Darius Campbell sang the national anthem prior to kick-off at the Scotland vs Czech Republic friendly in March 2010.SNS Group

He turned down a record deal from judge Simon Cowell and instead went onto work with producer Steve Lillywhite with his first single, Colourblind, being released on July 29, 2002.

It entered the UK singles chart at number one, staying at the top of the charts for two weeks.

His debut album, Dive In, was certified platinum. He went onto have five UK top ten singles.

He went on to build 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.

Living in the US, Danesh married Canadian actress Natasha Henstridge, whose films include sci-fi hit Species, in 2011, but divorced a few years later.

Danesh at the NFL Europe game between the Scottish Claymores and Cologne Centurions in 2004.SNS Group

In 2010, he revealed he had broken his neck in a car crash when a Porsche he was a passenger in hit a wall at 70mph after skidding on an oil slick in Spain.

Danesh was an ambassador for The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice helping fundraise for the charity.

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, 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 his old mentor and Pop Idol judge, Simon Cowell.

Campbell starred opposite Ugly Betty star America Ferrera in the musical set in prohibition-era Chicago, and 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.”

News of his death prompted tributes from the worlds of music, film and television.

Liberty X member Michelle Heaton, who also competed on Popstars, remembered Campbell Danesh’s Popstars audition, during which he sang a rendition of …Baby One More Time by Britney Spears. She tweeted: “So sad… thoughts with Darius family right now x always our Britney.”

West End actress and singer Carrie Hope Fletcher wrote on Twitter: “This is such sad news” and shared a broken heart emoji.

English-born actor Matthew Marsden described the news as “truly heartbreaking”.

He added: “I first met Darius when he auditioned for the Big Breakfast weather man years ago. He was a terrific human being. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code