‘American Idol’ contestant Michael Johns dead at 35
By KIM WILLIS Gannett News Service August 2, 2014 11:08PM
FILE - In this May 16, 2013, file photo, Michael Johns arrives at the "American Idol" finale at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live in Los Angeles. Johns, who appeared in season 7 of the hit Fox singing competition and was voted off in an eighth-round stunner, has died. He was 35. The network and his family released statements Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, confirming the Australian-born singer's death. The Hollywood Reporter says Johns died Friday. A cause of death wasn't immediately available. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
Updated: August 2, 2014 11:27PM
Michael Johns, the rock ‘n’ soul singer and Australian heartthrob who was a fan favorite on Season 7 of TV’s “American Idol” singing competition, has died.
The Hollywood Reporter and other news outlets reported that Johns, 35, died Friday from a blood clot in an ankle.
No statement has been issued about his death, but @SedzOz, the administrator of his fan site michaeljohnsonline.com, tweeted Saturday, “It is with a heavy heart and inconsolable sadness that we confirm the passing of our friend Michael Johns.”
His family said it appreciated the support streaming in from around the world and that the loss of “a wonderful husband, son, brother, uncle, and friend” was devastating.
Fox called Johns “an incredible talent” and a part of the show’s family who would be missed.
Johns is the first Idol finalist to die since the show launched in 2002.
Johns finished eighth on the singing competition in a shocking eighth-round elimination that was cited by producers as one of the reasons “Idol” introduced the “judges’ save” the following season. He had never been in the show’s bottom three vote-getters when he was eliminated in April 2008.
“I will say, being a celebrity doesn’t suck,” Johns said backstage at the Idols Live tour in Rosemont, in 2008. “I don’t know how long I’ll be a celebrity. Might as well enjoy.”
After the show, he spent hours signing autographs for fans lined up outside the venue.
I’m tired, sure,” Johns said. “But you get energy from these people. Just look at them.”
Johns arrived in the United States with a college tennis scholarship and started his career in Atlanta with the band Film. He was one of “American Idol’s” more experienced contestants, having signed a record contract in 2002 with Madonna’s Maverick Records imprint while fronting the rock band The Rising. He auditioned for “Idol” in 2007 as Michael Lee (adopting the name “Johns” for the competition, a reference to both his middle name, John, and his stepfather) when he was 28, the age cutoff for Idol eligibility.
He released his post-”Idol” album “Hold Back My Heart” in 2009 and followed that with an EP, “Love & Sex,” in 2012.
He is survived by his wife, Stacey Vuduris, a Los Angeles interior designer.