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Nikki McKibbin, 'American Idol' contestant, has died at 42

McKibbin bagged third place in the first season of 'American Idol' in 2002, behind winner Kelly Clarkson and runner-up Justin Guarini.

Nikki McKibbin, 'American Idol' contestant, has died at 42
Nikki McKibbin performs at FOX-TV's "American Idol" in Los Angeles, Ca. Tuesday, August 27, 2002. Photo by Kevin Winter/ImageDirect/FOX/Getty Images

Nikki McKibbin, a contestant on the first-ever season of American Idol, has died. She was 42. Craig Sadler who was married to Nikki since 2007 announced the news on Facebook. The singer was surrounded by family when she passed away, reports TMZ. McKibbin died of a brain aneurysm. Her husband shared on November 1: Many of you already know something is wrong. The love of my life Nikki Sadler suffered an aneurysm on Wednesday. She would already be gone, but she's an organ donor and has been kept on life support to make that possible. That shouldn't be a surprise to us. Even at the end she is still giving. She was so loved that I know thousands of you will be grieving with us. There are only a few hours left for me to hold her hand and kiss her forehead.

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He acknowledged that because of the pandemic, a huge memorial service would be out of the question, but still gave people the chance to honor her.  He added: She will be taken to the OR at 3:00 am Central time to give her final gift that will save the lives of strangers. You probably know she practically worshiped Stevie Nicks. Before they begin, they will play Landslide for her one last time. If you are able, you can pause at 3:00 wherever you are and listen to it with her. She will know that you're sharing her farewell. She loved so many of you and I know you loved her too.

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McKibbin, considered to be one of the originals of the famed talent competition, finished third in the first season of American Idol in 2002, behind winner Kelly Clarkson and runner-up Justin Guarini, reports CNN. American Idol has responded to the singer's death. According to Vulture, an American Idol spokesperson said in a statement on Sunday, "Nikki McKibbin was an incredible talent and we are deeply saddened by the news of her passing. 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."  

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Justin Guarini took to Instagram as he remembered his former competitor as "a fiery, funny lady who would sing the hell out of a rock song with the same kind of ease and command she lovingly used to cut you with her twangy Southern wit." He wrote: Even in our 20’s when we were on American Idol together I could tell that she’d had a challenging life, and that not that many people had been kind to her along the way...⁣...but I’ll never forget the day that her idol, Stevie Nicks, sent her flowers with a card that said "You are the Gypsy that I was..." Nikki was on cloud nine and the joy and excitement that radiated from her was infectious. After the kind of emotional beating she took at the hands of the masses, she deserved to feel good about herself, even for a little while. ⁣ Rest well, “Gypsy”...and thank you for the laughter, merciless teasing, strength, vulnerability, love and friendship you showed me during our time together in the spotlight. #rip #americanidol

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Nikki McKibbin, Justin Guarini and Kelly Clarkson at FOX-TV's "American Idol" in Los Angeles, Ca. Wednesday, August 28, 2002. Photo by Kevin Winter/ImageDirect/FOX/Getty Images

 

According to TODAY, McKibbin first ventured into the world of reality TV in 2001 competing on The WB competition Popstars. After her stint on Idol, she was signed to a deal through RCA and 19 Records, but things didn't work out as she refused to record a country album. She finally came out with a rock album, "Unleashed," in 2007. In 2008, she appeared on the VH1 reality show Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew seeking treatment for addiction to alcohol and cocaine. She later appeared on the shows Sober House, Fear Factor, and Bravo's Battle of the Network Reality Stars. Her 15-year-old son Tristan Langley also appeared on Idol in 2014 where he auditioned in front of judges Harry Connick Jr., Keith Urban, and Jennifer Lopez.

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In 2016, McKibbin went through some health issues as she needed to undergo a series of back surgeries. She will be sorely missed by friends, family, and fans. 

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