Simon Cowell has led the tributes to Scottish Pop Idol star Darius Campbell Danesh following his death at the age of 41. 

Cowell said his death was an "absolute tragedy" as he remembered the "charismatic, funny and just great person to be with". 

The 41-year-old was sadly found dead in his apartment in Rochester, Minnesota, on August 11, his family confirmed.

Campbell Danesh appeared on the first Pop Idol, which was won by Will Young, before finding success on the West End stage.

After Pop Idol, Campbell Danesh turned down Cowell’s offer of a record deal and signed with producer Steve Lillywhite, whose credits include U2 and the Rolling Stones.

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.

In a statement, the family confirmed that the cause of the sudden death remains "unknown at this stage". 


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The statement read: “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-songwriter and actor – who was known as Darius Danesh when he made his first bid for fame in ITV show Popstars in 2001 – before taking on Pop Idol.

Runner-up on the first series of Pop Idol Gareth Gates also paid tribute to his "dear friend".

Alongside a picture of himself and Campbell Danesh, the 38-year-old wrote: “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.

“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.”

He 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 were divorced a few years later.


Former Pop Idol judge Pete Waterman also remembered the Glasgow-born star and claimed he “could have gone on to be bigger than Michael Buble”.

Waterman told Good Morning Britain: 

“I met him a week before lockdown and 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 could have gone on to be bigger than Michael Buble because he’d got that talent.”

Speaking about their friendship, hit-making record producer Waterman said: “We became great friends because I did champion him.

“He was the most lovely person. He never called me Pete. He always called me Peter.

“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.”

Presenter and former member of pop group Hear’Say, which was formed on Popstars, Myleene Klass tweeted: “Everyone should watch this performance. Darius, you were so talented, so kind. A true family man. My thoughts are with them now.x” along with a link to a video of Campbell Danesh performing.

Liberty X member Michelle Heaton, who also competed on Popstars, remembered Campbell Danesh’s rendition of …Baby One More Time in his Popstars audition.

She tweeted: “So sad… thoughts with Darius family right now x always our Britney.”