Darius Danesh: What happened to Pop Idol's Darius Campbell-Danesh, Scottish Colourblind singer and actor who has died aged 41

Scottish Colourblind singer Darius Campbell-Danesh, who shot to fame after appearing on UK TV talent show Popstars, has died aged 41. Here’s everything we know.

Former Pop Idol contestant and theatre star Darius Campbell-Danesh has been found dead in his US apartment room at the age of 41, his family announced.

Scottish singer-songwriter Darius launched his career with a rendition of Britney Spears’ ...Baby One More Time on Popstars over 20 years ago – the series which also starred Will Young and Gareth Gates.

Darius went on to tour the globe with A-List popstars including Shakira, appeared on the West End stage and raised huge sums of money for charities including The Prince’s Trust.

Here’s everything we know, including what happened to Darius Campbell-Danesh.

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Former Popstars contestant and Scottish singer Darius Danesh dies

Who is Darius Campbell-Danesh?

Darius Campbell-Danesh was born in Glasgow in 1980, the son of two doctors, a Scottish mother (Avril Campbell) and an Iranian father (Booth Danesh).

Glasgow-born Scottish singer, songwriter, musician, actor and film producer Darius Campbell-Danesh - also known by his stage name Darius - rose to fame after appearing on British TV talent show Popstars. Images: Getty

Darius went to school at Bearsden Primary School and Glasgow Academy.

A student at the University of Edinburgh, Darius Campbell studied English Literature and Philosophy.

Darius shot to fame after appearing as a contestant on the British television talent competition Popstars, a precursor to X-Factor, in 2001. He was then voted on to the finals of Pop Idol the following year but turned down a record deal with music mogul Simon Cowell.

Darius’ first hit single Colourblind was written by Campbell himself and was released in 2002, storming to the top of the UK singles chart.

Darius Danesh performs on stage at the "IKEA Bristol International Balloon Fiesta Concert" launching the 26th annual and largest balloon fiesta outside US, at the Ashton Court Estate, on August 12, 2004 in Bristol, England. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Colourblind was followed by Darius’ debut album Dive In and – performing under the name Darius Danesh – he supported Shakira on her world tour.

He appeared as himself on Channel 4’s soap Hollyoaks in 2003.

In 2004, Darius released a book entitled ‘Sink or Swim’ about the challenges working in the music industry. The book was a Sunday Times sixth best seller.

When he learned his father, Booth Danesh, had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, Darius dedicated his second studio album – Live Twice - to his dad who later made a ‘miraculous recovery’.

Glasgow's Darius Danesh shot to almost instant fame after appearing on Simon Cowell's Pop Idol. Proving popular with fans, Darius enjoyed brief chart success with Colourblind released in 2002.

Darius’ mum, Avril Campbell Danesh, a GP, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 but also survived her illness.

Away from pop music, Darius appeared in two West End productions of Chicago and at 25 years old, was the youngest actor to play Billy Flynn since the show opened on Broadway in 1975.

He was the first winner of ITV’s Popstar to Operastar series in 2010. Mentored by Rolando Villazon, he went on to duet with the tenor on the song The Impossible Dream.

Elsewhere, Darius has appeared on stage in the role of Warden in From Here to Eternity the Musical, and Nick Arnstein in Funny Girl.

Darius served as an Ambassador for The Prince’s Trust, the charity founded by Prince Charles and specialising in offering support to underprivileged youth.

A gig her performed in 2002 helped raise around £300,000 for the charity.

Darius Campbell attends 'The Prince's Trust' and TKMaxx with Homesense Awards at London Palladium on March 6, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)

He also did charitable work with Guitar Aid, the Lymphoma Association and Cancer Research UK.

Why was Darius in a coma?

In 2017, Darius slipped into a near-fatal coma when he drank dirty water from the River Thames. He was reportedly demonstrating water filter bottle tops for safe drinking charity Fresh2o.

The bottle top in question was a dummy model, and Darius contracted meningitis and suffered swelling on his brain.

Darius said: "I drank the water for the video and raised the funds but, when I went to Glasgow to see my mum for her birthday, I collapsed.

“It turned out I had a cerebral oedema where your brain swells bigger than your skull. Dad saved my life. He got me to the hospital. They diagnosed it quickly.”

Who was Darius married to? Who is Natasha Henstridge?

Darius Campbell-Danesh was married to Natasha Henstridge, a Canadian actress famous for her role in Species, in a secret ceremony back in 2011. The pair filed for divorce two years later and the divorce was finalised in 2018.

At the time of their relationship – which stretched across nearly 12 years from when he was just 22, Darius described the situation as ‘turbulent’ but said he was heartbroken when they divorced.

Why did Darius change his surname from Darius Danesh to Darius Campbell?

Danesh is the surname taken from Darius' Iranian father, Booth Danesh. In 2010, Darius decided to alter his name to his Scottish mother Avril's maiden name, Campbell, to acknowledge his Scottish heritage.

Speaking to the Daily Record, he said: “[My grandfather] is originally from Greenock and he sang The Green Oak Tree to me. He sang it in such a way it brought tears to my eyes. He was in tears at the end of it, as well.

"He said to me, 'I am proud of you. No matter where you are in the world, you'll always be a Campbell. You'll always be a Scot and you'll always be my grandson'. I am Scottish. I am proud of my heritage and I don't want to lose that.

"When I travel the world, I feel so deeply Scottish. When people know me as Darius Danesh, it doesn't reflect that I am Scottish. People say it's not a very Scottish name. But Darius Campbell reflects that I am Scottish.”

What happened to Darius?

According to Press Association, the former Pop Idol contestant and theatre star Darius Campbell Danesh has been found dead in his US apartment at the age of 41, his family announced.

The singer and actor was found in Rochester, Minnesota, on August 11 – although the cause of death remains unknown.

A statement said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Darius Campbell Danesh. Darius was found unresponsive in bed in his apartment room in Rochester, Minnesota, on August 11 and was pronounced dead in the afternoon by the local medical examiners’ office.

“The local police department have confirmed that there were no signs of intent or suspicious circumstances. The cause of his sudden death is unknown at this stage while medical examinations continue.

“We ask that you kindly respect our wishes for privacy at this time whilst we come to terms with the tragic loss of our son and brother.”


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