American Idol alum Michael Johns has died at the age of 35. The Australian-born rock ‘n’ soul singer, who appeared on the Fox reality series in 2008, passed away Friday, reportedly due to a blood clot in his ankle.
The singer’s family released this statement: “Our family is devastated by the passing of our beloved Michael, a wonderful husband, son, brother, uncle, and friend. We appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from all corners of the globe. Please keep Michael in your thoughts and respect our need to grieve privately in this difficult time.”
Johns is the first Idol finalist to pass away since the singing competition launched in 2002. Fox and Idol producers FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment released this statement: “Michael Johns was an incredible talent and we are deeply saddened by the news of his passing. He was a part of our American Idol family and he will be truly missed. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.”
Former Idol judge Simon Cowell tweeted, “A truly great guy. Rest in peace Michael,” while fellow Idol veteran Randy Jackson wrote, “So Sad. Too soon. Thank you for sharing your talents with us.” Fellow Idol contestant alum Melinda Doolittle wrote on Instagram, “I can’t express how sad I am right now. Michael Johns, rest in sweet peace, my friend. You will be greatly missed.”
Johns released a post-Idol album in 2009 titled Hold Back My Heart, then a 2012 EP called Love & Sex. Below is Johns’ Idol exit interview with EW after he finished eighth in the competition during Season 7 of the show: