'RIP Darius': Tributes pour in for 'iconic' Noughties Pop Idol legend
16th August 2022

‘RIP Darius, Colourblind was such a banger’: Social media outpouring of grief for the Noughties legend who captured the hearts of a nation with his ‘iconic’ Pop Idol audition

  • Former Pop Idol contestant Darius Campbell was found dead in his US apartment
  • He leapt to fame for his Britney Spears rendition of Hit Me Baby One More Time
  • Scottish performer went on to forge a successful theatre career in the West End 

Tributes have poured in for former Pop Idol contestant and theatre star Darius Campbell Danesh was found dead in his US apartment room at the age of 41. 

His family announced today that the singer and actor was found in Rochester, Minnesota, on August 11, with the cause of death still unknown. 

Danesh made his first bid for fame in ITV show Popstars in 2001 with his quirky rendition of Britney Spears’ Baby One More Time.  

He did not make it into the band but the following year appeared on the first Pop Idol, which was won by Will Young.

The Scottish performer went on to forge a successful theatre career, appearing in Chicago as Billy Flynn in two runs of the production, as well as Guys And Dolls, Gone With The Wind and more in the West End.

News of Darius’s death has spread on social media, where industry colleagues and fans alike have shared their shock and sadness.

TV presenter and former X-Factor contestant Rylan Clark posted: ‘Proper sad about Darius,’ while Radio 1 DJ Adele Roberts said: ‘This is so sad. Thinking of Darius’ family and friends.’

Actor Sanjeev Bhaskar also posted: ‘Sad news of Darius’ shockingly untimely passing. He was a guest on The Kumars and couldn’t have been a nicer, warmer guest with a great sense of self deprecation.’

Passed away: Former Pop Idol contestant and theatre star Darius Campbell has been found dead in his US apartment room at the age of 41, his family announced

News of Darius’s death has spread on social media, where industry colleagues and fans alike have shared their shock and sadness

The family statement from Darius’s family 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.’

After Pop Idol in 2002, Danesh turned down Simon Cowell’s offer of a record deal and signed with producer Steve Lillywhite, whose credits include U2 and the Rolling Stones.

Many fans have shared clips and cover artwork to Darius’s number one hit single Colourblind, which stayed at the top of UK charts for two weeks making it certified silver, as well as peaking at number 13 in the Irish Singles Chart. 

Many fans have shared clips and cover artwork to Darius’s number one hit single Colourblind, which stayed at the top of UK charts for two weeks making it certified silver, as well as peaking at number 13 in the Irish Singles Chart (pictured, Colourblind music video)

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.

Although he found fame as Darius Danesh, he later changed his name to incorporate his mother Avril’s maiden name, Campbell, after an emotional visit to his grandfather in a Paisley nursing home made him reflect on his Scottish heritage.

One fan tweeted following the family’s announcement: ‘Hearing the news that Darius has died and all I can think is how good a song Colourblind is. So sad.’

Another said: ‘Colourblind is one of the all time great pop songs. RIP Darius,’ while one added: ‘Iconic. Colourblind was and still is a tune! RIP.’

Reciting Colourblind, one wrote: ‘Feelin’ blue, while I’m trying to forget the feeling that I miss you. RIP Darius.’

Reflecting on Darius’s career, one fan wrote of his performance at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London in 2013: ‘I’m shocked and very sad to hear of the death of Darius Campbell.

‘He was a lovely man and a total professional when he played the role of Warden in From Here To Eternity.

‘Talented, dedicated and passionate about the work. I pass on my deepest sympathy to his family. Fly my friend. RIP.’

Darius Campbell is pictured after performing as Nick Arnstein in Funny Girl at the Savoy alongside actress Sheridan Smith

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

One fan wrote: ‘Darius was such a huge figure for that early 00s wave of reality TV and ‘characters’ coming out of it. Us Pop Idol fans will never forget the Hit Me Baby One More Time clip – but Colourblind was such a bop’

Another person said: ‘Darius dies at 41. No age at all. One of the early reality star legends.’

One fan wrote: ‘Darius was such a huge figure for that early 00s wave of reality TV and ‘characters’ coming out of it. Us Pop Idol fans will never forget the Hit Me Baby One More Time clip – but Colourblind was such a bop.

‘He always seemed so suave and talented. This is just too sad.’

Similar, another added: ‘Darius Danesh provided one of THE most iconic pop culture moments of the early 00s. How very sad that he’s passed so young.’

Reflecting on his music, someone said: ‘Oh no! This is such sad news. I used to love Darius.

‘His rendition of Hit Me Baby One More Time was iconic and Colourblind was an absolute banger.’ 

One fan tweeted following the family’s announcement: ‘Hearing the news that Darius has died and all I can think is how good a song Colourblind is. So sad’

Some shared clips of his ‘iconic’ audition on Pop Idol, where the singer donned a black turtleneck top, a goatee and slick-back hair. 

Danesh lived in the US and was in a relationship 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 had since divorced. 

Responding the news of his death, actress Carrie Hope Fletcher tweeted today: ‘This is such sad news’ and shared a broken heart emoji. 

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