Such tragic news coming from the world of American Idol…
Famed contestant Nikki McKibbin, who finished in third place during the first season of the mega-hit reality TV show back in 2002, has died. She was just 42 years old, and leaves behind family, friends, and loved ones grieving her passing.
Publicly, McKibbin was best known for her exceptional run on the first season of the reality TV music competition show. She eventually finished third in that very first year of the competition, landing behind second place singer Justin Guarini and eventual winner (and soon-to-be superstar) Kelly Clarkson.
McKibbin was perhaps best remembered on the show for her cover of Alannah Myles‘ song Black Velvet, though throughout her time on air, she also covered works from Stevie Nicks, Alanis Morissette, Melissa Etheridge, and Janis Joplin, which got her into the top three by the end of it all. Her memorable performances vaulted her up into Idol history, as she went all the way down to the wire in that memorable first season, right as the show took off in popularity like a rocket all around the world. What a time that must have been to be on Idol!
According to sources “connected to Nikki’s family” who spoke to TMZ about her death, the singer died of a brain aneurysm. She had been in the hospital on life support battling through, but very early in the morning on Sunday, November 1, she was pronounced dead by doctors there. According to those same insiders, she was reportedly an organ donor.
Nikki did have some demons to battle throughout her life, and one point succumbed to a substance abuse addiction. Eventually, she appeared on Dr. Drew‘s Celebrity Rehab back in 2008, and worked to get clean of the bad ways. She also appeared on other reality TV shows including Sober House, Fear Factor, and Battle of the Network Reality Stars during her time in the spotlight.
She leaves behind a loving family, including husband Craig Sadler, who she had been married to since 2007. And she leaves behind her now-adult son Tristen Cole Langley, as well. Interestingly enough, Tristan auditioned for Idol in 2004 and made it all the way to Hollywood before getting cut from the show once there.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Nikki’s family, friends, and loved ones. Sad, sad stuff here — and such a sudden, terrible tragedy for the family to go through. Just awful.
Rest In Peace, Nikki…
[Image via Axel Gimenez/WENN]