American Idol star CJ Harris has died of a heart attack at the age of 31, a spokesperson for the Walker County coroner told People on Thursday.
The singer, who finished sixth on the reality show in 2014, died Sunday at Walker Baptist Medical Center in his hometown of Jasper, Alabama.
He had been rushed to the emergency room by ambulance, but shortly after arriving the musician – whose full name is Curtis ‘CJ’ Harris – was pronounced dead, according to a TMZ report on Monday.
A family member spoke to the site sharing that the family was in shock over his passing.
His road to Idol was bumpy.
Harris first auditioned for The X-Factor and The Voice, but was unsuccessful. It was then that he turned his attention to American Idol where he made a strong impression in the 13th season which took place in 2014.
The judges at the time with Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr and Keith Urban.
He auditioned first in Tuscaloosa and then in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Shock: The singer, who finished sixth on the reality show in 2014, died on Sunday at Walker Baptist Medical Center in his hometown of Jasper, Alabama – Seen in 2014
Harris wowed the judges with her rendition of the Allman Brothers Band’s hit song Soulshine.
Judge Urban told CJ, “You sing because you have to sing, not because you want to sing.” And, I mean that in the deepest way. And that’s why it’s so believable and real.
Then CJ sang Too Close, American Woman and Free Fallin’.
He made it all the way to sixth place.
American Idol said in a statement on social media: ‘CJ Harris was an incredible talent, and the news of his passing saddens us deeply. He will be truly missed.
In 2014, he told The Hollywood Reporter that he auditioned for American Idol on a whim. “I saw they were doing the bus tour and they were going to be 30 minutes from me,” he began.
He then added: “I said, ‘You know what? I’ll give it another chance. I’ve improved so much, my voice has matured and my playing has improved so much. I’m 23, before you know it I’ll be 33 and I want to give it another shot,” he shared.
He had a voice: Harris made a big impression on American Idol nine years ago. He auditioned in Salt Lake City Utah in 2014. Harris wowed the judges with his rendition of Soulshine from the Allman Brothers Band. Seen in 2014
He also found success after Idol, performing at the Grand Ole Opry with Darius Rucker after a move to Nashville.
And he was part of the American Idol season 13 tour.
Harris had shared that he came from simple beginnings.
At age eight, he began learning to play guitar on a broken guitar his grandfather had given him. It only had three strings but was enough to get him addicted to music. He also sang in the church choir and learned to play the piano.
Some of his influences were John Legend, John Mayer and Keith Urban.
Prior to American Idol, he recorded an album titled Small Town Boy as an independent musician.
Jessica Meuse, who appeared on season 13 of Idol alongside Harris, shared a heartfelt tribute.
“We will miss your talent and your smile, and the world is definitely a darker and oddly calmer place without you,” she wrote. “I’m going to miss your random phone calls asking for life advice and talking about the music world…There’s a lot of things I realize I’ll never understand – you leaving us so soon is one of those things.”
Background: Some of his influences were John Legend, John Mayer and Keith Urban. Prior to American Idol, he recorded an album titled Small Town Boy as an independent musician. Seen in 2014