Former ‘American Idol’ Contestant Nikki McKibbin Dies at 42

Nikki McKibbin (Deposit Photos)

Season 1 American Idol contestant Nikki McKibbin has died at age 42.

She rose to prominence on the series in 2002 after finishing in third place behind runner-up Justin Guarini and Kelly Clarkson, who won the popular singing competition.

McKibbin’s husband, Craig Sadler, confirmed her death in a Facebook post on Saturday.

“The love of my life Nikki Sadler suffered an aneurysm on Wednesday,” wrote Sadler. “She was so loved that I know thousands of you will be grieving with us.”

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McKibbin’s shining moment on the series came when she sang Whitney Houston’s “One Moment in Time” for her audition, which immediately advanced her to the next round of the competition.

Idol released a statement via Twitter, writing: “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.”

Guarini also shared his thoughts on the passing of his friend via Instagram. He wrote, “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.”

McKibbin briefly returned to American Idol on Season 13 when she accompanied her son Tristen to his audition; he made it through to the Hollywood round, but was cut prior to the live shows.

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