Singer and guitarist CJ Harris, who appeared on American Idol in 2014, has died aged 31.

Born in Jasper, Alabama, the musician (real name Curtis Harris) came in at sixth place on the 13th season of the pop reality series. Harris released his debut single, ‘In Love’, back in 2019.

Harris, who was a father to two children, passed away last Sunday (January 15) after suffering a medical emergency, and being admitted to the Walker Baptist Medical Center in Jasper, per Variety.

His death was subsequently confirmed by a spokesperson for the Walker County Coroner’s Office. No further details have been disclosed at the time of writing.

The late singer’s first audition on American Idol saw him deliver a rendition of The Allman Brothers Band’s ‘Soulshine’ in front of judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr.

Harris was later voted a Wild Card by the public, and secured a place in the live shows. He was eliminated during the Rock ‘n’ Roll/ Country Week with performances of The Guess Who’s ‘American Woman’ and Zac Brown Band’s ‘Whatever It Is’.

The artist went on to participate in the American Idol live tour along with the other finalists from that season.

Writing on social media at the start of 2023 (January 2), Harris told his fans that new music would be “coming soon”. You can see that post above.

The official American Idol Instagram account recently shared a tribute to the late contestant. “CJ Harris was an incredible talent, and the news of his passing deeply saddens us,” it read. “He will be truly missed.”

Caleb Johnson, who won American Idol season 13, shared an image of himself with Harris on Twitter. “Absolutely tragic, he wrote. “You were taken from us way to soon. Love you brother.”

Elsewhere, Jessica Meuse – who came in fourth place that year – said she was “completely shocked” by the news of Harris’ death.

“Your talent and smile will be missed, and the world is definitely a darker and eerily quieter place without you in it,” she said.

“I’ll miss your random phone calls asking for life advice and talking about the music world. When you go through something like Idol together, it brings everyone involved together like a big, weird, dysfunctional family.”

Meuse continued: “I’m grateful that our paths crossed and that I can say you were (and always will be) a part of mine. There are a lot of things I realize I will never understand — you leaving us so soon is one of those things. Rest easy, friend. See you on the other side.”

Absolutely tragic you were taken from us way to soon . Love you brother @CJHarrisMusic

— Caleb Perry Johnson (@CalebJohnson) January 16, 2023

Sam Woolf, who placed fifth on Idol 2014, described Harris as “a genuine and loving person”, and recalled how the pair had become “close friends” over the course of the series’ run.

“I’m very grateful to have gone through that incredible experience with him alongside Caleb and Alex,” he wrote. “My thoughts go out to his family. Rest easy my dude.”

Third place contestant Alex Preston, meanwhile, shared a “throwback” video to “simpler times” when “CJ tied me to the door and pranked me in a daze”.

“I wish we talked more often in our later years,” Preston added. “Last time we talked I mixed some stems for him, and he sounded so good. RIP bro.”

The post ‘American Idol’ star CJ Harris dies aged 31 appeared first on NME.

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