American Idol finalist Michael Johns died

Michael Johns (photo by Fox)

Michael Johns (photo by Fox)

Michael Johns, the singer who placed eighth on American Idol 7, has died at age 35. He is the first finalist from the show to die; five years ago, auditioner Alexis Cohen was killed in a hit-and-run.

The Hollywood Reporter reported that “the cause of death is believed to be a blood clot in his ankle.” The Atlanta-Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho confirmed Michael’s death, citing “multiple sources”; they include the person who runs Michael Johns’ official fan site, who tweeted:

“It is with a heavy heart and inconsolable sadness that we confirm the passing of our friend Michael Johns. No other details will b avail at [...] this time.”

After his 2008 appearance on the show, which concluded with a surprising elimination, Michael was released from the show’s restrictive contract. A year later, he produced an album, Hold Back My Heart, and also appeared on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, when he sang at a dinner party hosted by Yolanda.

Here is his performance of “Bohemian Rhapsody” during the show’s Hollywood week:

Update: Fox, 19 Entertainment, FremantleMedia said in a statement:

“Michael Johns was an incredible talent and we are deeply saddened by the news of his passing. He was a part of our American Idol family and he will be truly missed. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.”

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Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.