Darius Danesh has passed away aged 41, his family have confirmed.

The singer shot to fame on Popstars in 2001 before finding further success on Pop Idol the following year.

Announcing the news of his untimely death, his family 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.”

In the wake of his passing, we’re looking back on Darius’ time on the hit 00s singing competitions…

Darius was first on our screens when he auditioned for Popstars in 2001, where he performed a theatrical version on Britney Spears’ One More Time.

In a clip of Darius’ audition, the late singer donned a moustache and ponytail, and wore a black polo neck jumper.

When asked what he was going to sing by Nigel Lythgoe, he replied: "I'm going to sing your favourite Nigel, Baby One More Time. No-one else sang it."

As Darius continued talking, Nigel firmly told him: "Darius, forget the spiel. Let's get on with it".

Following his performance, Nigel questioned if he was “the right person to fit into a five piece band or even a 100 piece band”.

Darius received a no from the judging panel, but his singing career wasn’t over.

The following year, Darius came third on the first series of Pop Idol, behind Gareth Gates and Will Young.

While he didn’t win, the competition skyrocketed his singing career and he went on to release his first album in December 2002 titled Dive In.

The album featured hit tracks Colourblind and Incredible, and came sixth in the album charts. It went on to be certified platinum in the UK.

Prior to the album, Darius turned down a record deal from judge Simon Cowell in order to work with producer Steve Lillywhite.

It was in 2010 that Darius’ career took a change after he starred on ITV’s Popstar to Operastar, which kickstarted the late 41 year old’s stage career.

He beat Bernie Nolan of the Nolan Sisters in a close final and went on to appear in Chicago as Billy Flynn in two runs of the production, as well as threatre shows Guys And Dolls, Gone With The Wind, and more in the West End.

Darius’ 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.

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