Simon Cowell says former Pop Idol contestant and theater star Darius Campbell Danesh was ‘charismatic, funny and just great to be around’ after he died at 41 I remember

Campbell Danesh was found dead in his Rochester, Minnesota apartment on August 11, his family announced.

Former Pop Idol judge Cowell, 62, said in a statement, “I got to know him better when I first saw Darius on TV over 20 years ago.

“He was charismatic, funny, and a great person to be with.

“For someone so young, his death was an absolute tragedy and my heart goes out to his family and friends.”

Following his death, Campbell Danesh’s family released a statement, saying: Darius was found unresponsive in bed in his Rochester, Minnesota apartment on August 11 and was confirmed dead later that afternoon by the local coroner’s office.

“The local police department has confirmed that there are no intentional signs or suspicious circumstances. The cause of his sudden death is unknown at this stage as medical examinations continue.

“While we come to terms with the tragic loss of our son and brother, we ask that you respect our request for privacy.”

The cause of death remains unknown.

America Ferrera and Darius Campbell outside the Garrick Theater in London. Photo: Ian West/PA

The Scottish singer-songwriter and actor, known as Darius Danesh for his rise to fame on the ITV show Popstars in 2001, also appeared on the first Pop Idol, won by Will Young.

After Pop Idol, Campbell Danesh turned down Cowell’s offer of a record deal and signed with producer Steve Lillywhite, which included U2 and The Rolling Stones.

His debut single, Colourblind, was released in July 2002 and immediately reached number one, marking the start of the Top 10 releases.

He had a successful stage career, appearing in two Chicago productions as Billy Flynn and West End roles in Guys and Dolls and Gone with the Wind.

He lived in the United States and fell in love with Canadian actress Natasha Henstridge. Her films include the seeds of sci-fi hits.

Darius Campbell Danesh and Natasha Henstridge, 2013. Photo: dpa picture Alliance/Alamy Live News/PA

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

After placing third on Pop Idol in 2001, he won the inaugural series of ITV’s Pop Star to Opera Star contest in 2010, defeating Bernie Nolan of The Nolan Sisters in a close match.

A few months after winning an ITV show with Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins and Mexican-born tenor Roland Villason as judges, he was cast in Carmen’s new production at London’s O2 Arena. Played the first major opera role.

He played the lead role of Escamillo, the bullfighter in the play, and gave a one-off performance that was the first opera at the venue at the time.

In 2011, when talking about a revival of Chicago scheming attorney Flynn, he said he based the character’s portrayal on his old mentor and pop idol judge Cowell.

Campbell starred opposite Ugly Betty star America Ferrera on a Prohibition-era Chicago musical set and said: Recognize it from the character’s point of view.

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

“I am extremely grateful for this experience and all the opportunities it has opened up for me, and for being able to call Simon Cowell a friend and have dinner with him.”

Campbell Danesh was born in Glasgow to a Scottish mother and an Iranian father.

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

Myleene Klass, presenter and former member of the pop group Hear’Say formed by Popstars, tweeted: Darius, you were so talented and so kind. A true family man. My thoughts are with them now.

Liberty X member and Popstars member Michelle Heaton recalled Campbell Danesh’s Popstars audition for her rendition of Britney Spears’ … Baby One More Time. She tweeted: “So sad… Thoughts with the Darius family now x Always our Britney.

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