CJ Harris, a former American Idol semifinalist, was pronounced dead this weekend at 31 after he was rushed to the hospital.
According to TMZ, CJ Harris reportedly suffered a heart attack at his Jasper, Alabama home on Sunday night. An ambulance rushed him to the hospital immediately after but unfortunately, he passed away.
Harris earned grand praise during his time on American Idol. The singer left the judges in awe during his 2014 audition in Salt Lake City where he performed the Allman Brothers Band’s “Sunshine.” At the time, Keith Urban served as a judge and praised Harris’ vocal abilities.
“You sing ’cause you have to sing, not ’cause you want to sing,” Urban told Harris. “And, I mean that in the deepest way. And, that’s why it’s so believable and real.”
The impression he left on judges and America, at large, helped him gain a wild card vote which secured his place in the semi-final. Prior to that, he didn’t receive enough votes to land in the finals. He made the top 6 of the finals before he was eliminated from the competition.
One of his competitors in season 13, Jessica Meuse, penned a heartfelt tribute on Instagram following a rep for the Walker County Coroner’s confirmation 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 wrote. “I’ll miss your random phone calls asking for life advice and talking about the music world… There are a lot of things I realize I will never understand — you leaving us so soon is one of those things.”
Harris is, unfortunately, not the only American Idol contestant to pass away in recent times. In September, season 19 runner-up Willie Spence succumbed to injuries sustained from a car accident.
We’ll keep you posted on any further updates surrounding Harris’ passing.