“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.”
I just heard the very sad news that Michael Johns has passed away. A truly great guy. Rest in peace Michael.
— Simon Cowell (@SimonCowell) August 3, 2014
— The Real Paula Abdul (@PaulaAbdul) August 2, 2014
I'm heartbroken over the loss of @michael_johns.His enormous talent, gigantic heart & infectious personality will live in my heart forever.
— The Real Paula Abdul (@PaulaAbdul) August 3, 2014
Fellow Idol performers and fans of the late singer have taken to Twitter to express their grief.
— josh groban (@joshgroban) August 2, 2014
My heart is so heavy today. @michael_johns, you were such a bright light & always made me smile. Rest in His arms. Im going to miss you. 🙁
— Jordin Sparks (@JordinSparks) August 2, 2014
I can't express how sad I am right now. Michael Johns, rest in sweet peace, my friend. You will be… http://t.co/PfVhY9hie9
— Melinda Doolittle (@mdoolittle) August 2, 2014
I'm very sad about my pal Michael Johns – he was a talented guy and I loved him and his talent very much. We… http://t.co/xmOHQ53poh
— Michael Orland (@MichaelOrland) August 2, 2014
My friend @michael_johns passed yesterday. Please keep his family in your prayers. He was a wonderful, kind spirit that brought joy to all.
— Bo Bice (@OfficialBoBice) August 2, 2014
Yesterday I found out my good friend and fellow idol Michael Johns passed away. He was the nicest, most talented… http://t.co/efUR9sHNlc
— Blake Lewis (@BlakeLewis) August 2, 2014
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.
Johns leaves behind his wife of seven years, Stacey Vuduris.
Image via Michael Johns, Twitter