Darius Campbell Danesh’s tragic cause of death confirmed by medical examiner
FORMER Pop Idol star Darius Campbell Danesh has died of “chloroethane inhalation”, the Southern Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner’s Office has confirmed.
The singer and actor was found dead in his US apartment in Rochester, Minnesota last month at the age of 41.
Autopsy documents shared with The US Sun list “toxic effects of chloroethane” as well as “suffocation” as contributing to his death.
Chloroethane is readily available from pharmacies as a painkiller spray. It is also used to be inhaled as a recreational drug.
The death was ruled an accident by the medical examiner.
A statement released by Campbell Danesh’s family previously said local police found “no signs of suspicious intent or circumstances”.
Darius was found dead weeks before starring in a reunion show in Britain.
The singer won hearts on the ITV talent show’s first series, finishing third behind Will Young and Gareth Gates in 2002.
A source previously said that Scot Darius was “really excited” about a Pop Idol reunion.
Grief-stricken Gareth said in a tribute last month: ‘I can’t quite believe the news that my dear friend Darius has passed away. My heart is broken.
“Darius took me under his wing during our time on Pop Idol, like a big brother; always watch over me and for that I thank you my friend.
“I will miss our talks. She was one of the most beautiful, smartest, and sweetest souls I’ve ever had the chance to know, a soul that lit up every room.
“Goodbye my friend. Forever in my heart.”
Darius was found “unresponsive” in his US apartment on August 11.
Rochester cops have confirmed there are no suspicious circumstances, but are awaiting medical and toxicology test results.
LX Factor frontman Simon Cowell previously said: “I first saw Darius on TV over 20 years ago and got to know him very well. He was charismatic, funny and just a great person to be with.
“His passing, for someone so young, is an absolute tragedy and my heart goes out to his family and friends.”
The tragedy came as Glasgow-born Darius – who forged a career on stage in the West End after chart-topping pop success – was set for an emotional reunion with showbiz friends in the UK.
A source told The Sun that Darius is set to return to the UK in just a few weeks for a Pop Idol reunion special produced by Thames TV.
Entertaining stars from around the world have been invited to return – as well as Queen singer Adam Lambert, who won American Idol.
Plans were underway for filming at the Criterion Theater in London’s West End, where auditions were taking place, for the first time in 20 years.
The pal said, “He was really excited about the reunion and was in talks with producers to be in it. They planned to start filming around the end of September.
“This was going to be an hour and a half special hosted by Ant and Dec and full of nostalgia for the millions of Pop Idol fans.
“I spoke to Darius recently and he was in good spirits – he was his usual happy self.”
I first saw Darius on TV over 20 years ago and got to know him very well. He was charismatic, funny and just a great person to be with.
Never-before-seen footage was reportedly part of the special, as Will and Gareth were lined up for a duet.
Darius was last pictured in June heading to the beach in Malibu with the Hollywood star and fellow Scot Gerard Butler, and appeared to be in good health.
But his family said: ‘Darius was found unconscious in bed in his flat and was pronounced dead in the afternoon by the local medical examiners office. The local police department confirmed that there were no signs of suspicious intent or circumstances.
“The cause of his sudden death is unknown at this stage while medical examinations continue.
“We ask that you please respect our wishes for privacy at this time as we come to terms with the tragic loss of our son and brother.”
Neil Fox, 61, who was a judge on Pop Idol, said he was “saddened and shocked” to hear the news about Darius. He recalled, “He had been such a great character in that first Pop Idol series.
“We lived close to each other and met often as his career progressed with big chart hits and West End shows.
“He was a lovely guy – super polite, very witty and a real hardworking pro who aimed to get to the top. He spoke very fondly of his mum and dad and always wanted to make them proud .
Darius’ appearances on Pop Idol launched a career that saw him top the charts soon after with the single Colourblind, while his album Dive In reached the top ten.
He was really excited about the reunion and was in talks with producers to be in it. They planned to start filming around the end of September.
He then performed in West End musicals including Chicago and Guys and Dolls.
He first appeared on TV in 2001 sporting a ponytail and beard on an early Popstars show with a hilarious cover of Britney Spears’ Baby One More Time – which Britney herself later hailed.
But her career took off after she surfaced on Pop Idol with a clean new image, which won over Simon Cowell. He then lived in the United States and found love with Canadian actress Natasha Henstridge, star of the sci-fi film Species. They married in 2011 in Santa Barbara, California, but divorced years later.
After his death, Natasha shared a series of photos of them together and wrote, “There are no words Darius…only Love Love Love. Janam forever.
The actress added a quote from Mother Teresa, which read, “I found the paradox that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more wrong – Only more love.”
The beautiful star was linked to model Daisy Lowe in 2016.
He was reportedly in a relationship with Guy Ritchie’s wife, Jacqui Ainsworth, for two years in the early 2000s.
Darius broke his neck in a 70mph crash when his Porsche skidded on oil in 2010.
But the crooner bounced back to win the first round of ITV’s Popstar To Operastar contest – beating Bernie Nolan of the Nolan Sisters in the final. This success earned him his first major operatic role in a production of Carmen at London’s O2 as the bullfighter Escamillo.
And he joked that he channeled the character of outspoken old mentor Simon when he played lawyer Flynn in the musical Chicago in 2011.
A spokesperson for the Rochester Police Department said: ‘The investigation into the cause of his death is still ongoing. There are no known threats to the public.
‘JOKE ACT’ THAT HIT THE BIG TIME
By Katy Docherty and Hayley Minn
HE was the original joke act in the new breed of reality singing competition – but the brave Darius Campbell Danesh ended up being the real Pop Idol.
With a number 1 and a respected career in West End musical theatre, he has become one of the most successful contenders.
He first appeared, aged 20, in 2001 on ITV’s Popstars with hair slicked back into a ponytail and a greasy goatee.
Her overconfident acoustic version of Britney Spears’ Hit Me Baby One More Time failed to impress the judges.
They said he was too “nerdy” and sent him packing – but his audition made reality TV history.
Kym Marsh, one of the winners of Popstars who trained Hear’Say on the show, was asked if he was edited to make him look silly. She replied, “No, he really was like that.”
After his Popstars appearance, he became a national laughing stock. During a gig at London’s GAY party, he was spat on and had coins and bottles thrown at him.
In his 2003 biography Sink or Swim, he says he became a recluse, only leaving his Edinburgh flat to drink in bars.
But after friends confronted him, he turned his life around.
Darius got his redemption when he was asked to appear on Pop Idol and debuted a new, trendier look.
With short hair and a shaved face, he managed to impress the judges, even Simon Cowell.
He reached the last three alongside Gareth Gates and eventual winner Will Young.
And in a surprise twist, he chose to turn down Simon’s offer of a recording contract – but they remained good friends.
Darius survived a 70mph car crash in 2010 and meningitis in 2015 when he accidentally drank water from the River Thames during a photo stunt with a water filter.
Divorced from Canadian actress Natasha Henstridge, he had a brief affair with Daisy Lowe shortly before his appearance in Strictly in 2016.