‘American Idol’ Finalist Michael Johns Dies at 35 From a Blood ClotBy: Pam Wright - August 3, 2014
“Our family is devastated by the passing of our beloved Michael, a wonderful husband, son, brother, uncle, and friend,” said a family statement released via American Idol, Fox, FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment. “We appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from all corners of the globe. Please keep Michael in your thoughts and respect our need to grieve privately in this difficult time.”
An official cause-of-death has not been issued, but sources told The Hollywood Reporter that it was likely a pulmonary embolism as a result of a blood clot in his ankle. Johns was apparently complaining of pain in his legs the day before he died, according to E! News.
“My mom took him into the emergency room [Thursday],” said Johns’ friend, Torrey Gimbill, to E!. “He had complained about his leg hurting him; he thought it might be a blood clot because it had bruised pretty badly and he never hurt his leg.”
Confirmation of the news was issued on Johns’ Twitter account:
“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. Please respect the privacy of Mike’s family and friends as we know u will. Members and admin of @mjohnsonline pass on their prayers.”
American Idol also issued a statement Saturday, mourning the passing of the Australian crooner:
“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.”
Fellow Idol performers and fans of the late singer have taken to Twitter to express their grief.
Born in Perth, Australia, in 1978, Johns moved to the United States in 1997 and fronted the rock bands Film and The Rising. After several failures with those bands, Johns tried out for American Idol in July 2007 and made the show’s Top 10 the following year.
With his floppy-haired Jim Morrison look, he quickly became the heartthrob of the show. His soulful covers of Dolly Parton, Fleetwood Mac and the Beatles songs drew a strong fan-base for the singer on the show.
His elimination in eighth place was a shock to fans, and it became the inciting force behind the producers decision in to instate the “Judges’ Save” a season later.
Johns continued to record and perform following Idol, releasing Hold Back My Heart in 2009. He teamed up with fellow Season Seven finalist Brooke White on her album, High Hopes & Heartbreak.