CJ Harris, a standout “American Idol” alum from Season 13, died suddenly and unexpectedly on Sunday — he was 31 years old.
Harris competed on the popular “American Idol” show in 2014 when he was 23. His blend of blues, soul and Caribbean styles impressed fans and judges.
“American Idol” judge Keith Urban told Harris after one of his presentations: “You sing ’cause you have to sing, not ’cause you want to sing. And I mean that in the deepest way. And, that’s why it’s so believable and real.”
Harris won sixth place in the Season 13 competition.
TMZ announced Harris’ death on Monday morning, citing a report from a family member.
Harris suffered an apparent heart attack on Sunday. Family members rushed him to a hospital in Jasper, Alabama, where he died Sunday evening.
Harris’ time on “American Idol” is perhaps best remembered by his rendition of the Allman Brothers Band’s song “Soulshine.” That presentation prompted judges to “save him” from elimination and move him to the semifinals after he failed to receive enough votes to advance.
Harris shared his reluctance to audition for “Idol” after being rejected by “The X Factor” and “The Voice.”
“I saw they were doing the bus tour, and they were going to be 30 minutes down the road from me,” Harris told the Hollywood Reporter in 2014.
Harris added: “I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to give it another chance. I’ve gotten so much better, my voice has matured, and my playing has gotten so much better. I’m 23; before you know it, I’ll be 33, and I want to give it another chance.'”
Harris later fulfilled a dream by performing with his mentor Darius Rucker and was part of the “American Idol” tour.