In its twenty seasons and two networks, American Idol has brought viewers many moments of joy. However, the show has also had times when fans had to mourn the loss of some of the contestants.
Unfortunately, American Idol has had to witness the death of some of its talented participants. Gone too soon, even the stars that have shone the brightest have suffered tragedies.
From Nikki McKibbin to Alexis Cohen, Reality Titbit remembers the Idol contestants who have tragically lost their lives.
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6. Nikki McKibbin
The first death of an American Idol contestant was that of Nikki McKibbin from the first series of the show.
She competed against famous singers Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini, making it all the way to Final 3.
According to Parade, Nikki suffered a brain aneurysm on October 28, 2020. She was put on life support until she sadly passed away four days later.
5. Rickey Smith
Smith finished eighth in the second heat but he had a great future ahead of him. The contestant won the favoritism of the audience for his positivity and great voice.
Unfortunately, he died 13 years later after the show. He was killed by a drunk driver during a multi-car highway collision on May 5, 2016, in his hometown, Oklahoma. Smith was 36 years old.
4. Marque Lynche
Marque didn’t get very far in the competition but finished in the top 32 of the third series. Undoubtedly, he had a great voice.
At the age of 34, Marque was found dead in his apartment on December 6, 2015. Reported by the Daily Mail, the medical examiner later revealed the star passed away due to ‘acute and chronic’ alcoholism.
His brother Michael Lynche made it all the way Top 4 in the ninth season, following his footsteps and carrying on the Lynche name.
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3. Leah LaBelle
Before she was eliminated and ended in 12th place, Leah Labelle was given a second chance in Idol.
The singer sadly died at the age of 31 in a fatal crash accident with her husband and NBA player, Rasual Butler. Leah was in the passenger seat at the time of the accident. She was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.
Reports by The Sun said Rasual lost control of the Ranger Rover and “hit three parking meters and a concrete wall and then flipped over twice”.
2. Joanne Borgella
Not only did Joanne Borgella make it into the top 24 female finalists, but also won the 2015 reality show for plus-size models, ‘Mo’Nique’s Fat Chance‘.
Joanne Borgella was only 32-years-old when she passed away on October 18, 2014. She was dealing with an ongoing battle with endometrial cancer. According to The List, her family announced the news on her Facebook page at the time.
The message read: “With heavy hearts, we are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our beloved Joanne
“Although our family is suffering with this great loss, we find comfort in the closeness Joanne shared with the Lord. We know her spirit still shines and will continue to live on in heaven.”
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1. Alexis Cohen
Alexis Cohen, also known as ‘Glitter Girl’ did not make it to the live shows of Idol. However viewers still remember her because of her memorable audition.
She showed up for the auditions in the seventh and eighth seasons but she couldn’t convince the judges to make it to the next round. She even had a mishap with Simon Cowell.
In her second attempt, the singer did not quite convince the judges either. Nicki Swift reported she threw her middle finger up to Simon Cowell after he described her performance of Madonna’s ‘Like A Prayer’ as worse than her first audition.
Two years after, Cohen died in a hit-and-run in July 2009 in New Jersey. She had suffered multiple injuries in the head and chest. The man responsible for her death, Daniel Bark, was found and arrested. Bark plead guilty on a charge of drunk driving with prosecutors later dropping a manslaughter charge in relation to Ms Cohen. Bark was sentenced to 364 days in the Ocean County Jail.
Alexis was 25-years-old at the time of the incident, making her American Idol’s youngest death.