‘American Idol’ star CJ Harris dies at 31 of apparent heart attack


CJ Harris placed sixth in 'American Idol' season 13 - which aired on Fox in 2014. Photo: Handout

CJ Harris, a singer who competed on American Idol during the reality competition’s 13th season, has died. The Alabama native was 31 years old.

A family member told TMZ that Harris was taken to a hospital via ambulance but died following a suspected heart attack on Sunday in Jasper, Alabama.

Harris placed sixth in Idol season 13 - which aired on Fox in 2014 - giving his takes on Darius Rucker’s Radio, John Mayer’s Waiting On The World To Change, and Ray LaMontagne’s Shelter, among his other performances on the show.

"You sing ‘cause you have to sing, not ‘cause you want to sing,” ‘Idol’ judge Keith Urban told Harris during the competition. ‘And I mean that in the deepest way. And that’s why it’s so believable and real.”

Harris followed his Idol run with a performance with Rucker at the Grand Ole Opry and an Idol concert tour with other season 13 contestants.

"I grew up in the church, playing gospel music and singing in the choir. I guess I was a little nervous to go on Idol, because I didn’t know if I was prepared. I didn’t have the training,” Harris told AL.com in 2015.

"Now, when I get on stage in front of these crowds, it doesn’t matter if I have my eyes closed. I don’t have to keep a camera view. I can calm down, relax and be myself. Ever since I was a little boy, I wanted to see those lights on stage. Every time I get into my bed right after a show, I still can’t believe I’ve been on stage. I’m having a lot more fun than I did on the TV show.”

The singer remained active on social media before his death, posting a selfie to Twitter on Sunday and sharing a TikTok video of himself performing The Fray’s How To Save A Life in late December.

"When I’m behind the microphone, I let everything go and let the music flow through me,” Harris previously wrote in his Facebook bio, per AL.com. "My friends, family, and fans have always supported me and always had my back, and I can never repay them for the love they have shown me.” – dpa

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