Beloved American Idol alum C.J. Harris dies aged 31 from apparent heart attack

Beloved American Idol alum C.J. Harris dies aged 31 from apparent heart attack
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A beloved former American Idol contestant has died aged 31.

C.J. Harris, who auditioned for the show in 2014, passed away in Jasper, Alabama, over the weekend, as reported by TMZ.

A spokesperson for Walker County Coroner confirmed the sad news with the outlet, with a family member also revealing Harris died of an apparent heart attack.

The father-of-two was rushed to a local hospital by ambulance, but CPR efforts were unsuccessful and he died in hospital. Harris was 31.

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C.J. Harris was working on new music before his death on Sunday.
C.J. Harris was working on new music before his death on January 15. (Instagram)

Fellow American Idol alum Jessica Meuse, who was a contestant on Season 13 of the show alongside Harris, was among the first to pay tribute to the star on social media.

“Your talent and smile will be missed, and the world is definitely a darker and eerily quieter place without you in it,” she wrote of Harris, who played sixth in the competition that year.

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“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 auditioned in Salt Lake City, Utah, before judges Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban, with the latter giving him so much praise for his rendition of the Allman Brothers hit Soulshine.

Watch the audition above.

“You know what it was for me, was that you have to sing not because you want to sing and I mean that in the deepest way,” Urban said at the time. “That’s why it’s so believable and real. And it’s greater than the sum and the parts. I just believed it and I felt it.”

Ryan Seacrest and C.J. Harris onstage during Fox's "American Idol" XIII Finale at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on May 21, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.
Ryan Seacrest and C.J. Harris onstage during the American Idol finale in 2014 in LA. (Getty)

That same year, in an interview with The Hollywood ReporterHarris revealed he first auditioned for Idol in 2010 but failed to make the first round. Subsequent audition attempts on The X-Factor and The Voice were also unsuccessful.

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“I was always on the internet, trying to find a break, looking for which producers I could send my stuff to. I searched for American Idol and I saw they were doing the bus tour and they were going to be 30 minutes down the road from me,” he recalled.

“I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to give it another chance. I’ve gotten so much better, my voice has matured and my playing has gotten so much better.”

Harris went on to release the single In Love in 2019 and on January 1 he announced on Facebook that he had “new music coming soon”.

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