Music

'American Idol' Season One Star Nikki McKibbin Dies at Age 42

Screengrab via YouTube

Nikki McKibbin, a rock singer known for finishing third during the first season of American Idol, died on Nov. 1 at the age of 42.

Per a Facebook post by McKibbin's husband Craig Sadler, she suffered a brain aneurysm on Wednesday (Oct. 28). She remained on life support until early Sunday because she was an organ donor.

Viewers of American Idol's inaugural season on Fox may remember McKibbin. Back then, she was a Janis Joplin and Stevie Nicks-loving 23-year old from Grand Prairie, Texas. Her stirring cover of Alanna Myles' "Black Velvet" positioned her for a third place finish behind fellow contestant Justin Guarini (now known as Lil Sweet from the Dr. Pepper commercials) and 2002's winner, Kelly Clarkson.

"What an incredible journey this has been," McKibbin said after being voted off the show in 2002 (as quoted by the Associated Press). "Just to know that so many people support me and enjoy what I do means more than anything in the world.″

Longtime American Idol host Ryan Seacrest offered condolences, referring to her on social media as " a superstar the moment she walked into auditions."

"She set the bar high with her talent and memorable stage presence," Seacrest added. "It was an honor to watch her grow and inspire millions of people."

The show itself also paid tribute to one of the best talents it has ever invited to Hollywood.

"Nikki McKibbin was an incredible talent and we are deeply saddened by the news of her passing," read a post on American Idol's official Twitter account. "She was part of our American Idol family and will be truly missed.  Our hearts and prayers go out to her family and friends during this difficult time."

McKibbin's son, Tristen Langley, told told The New York Times that his mom died in Arlington, Texas.

"She was so loved that I know thousands of you will be grieving with us," Sadler said. "She loved so many of you and I know you loved her too."

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Beyond American Idol, McKibbin also appeared on such TV shows as NBC's Fear Factor and Bravo's Battle of the Network Reality Stars.

Her debut album, Unleashed, was released in 2007.

McKibbin is also survived by a daughter, Carlie Sadler; her father, Keith McKibbin; a grandmother, Hazel Bunyea; and a granddaughter, Letti Sadler.

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'American Idol' Season One Star Nikki McKibbin Dies at Age 42