American Idol CJ Harris, who finished sixth on the show’s 13th season in 2014, has died. He was 31 years old.
A spokesperson for the Walker County Coroner confirms to PEOPLE that Harris died Sunday after being rushed to Walker Baptist Medical Center in Jasper, Alabama. CPR efforts were unsuccessful.
TMZ first reported the news.
Jessica Mews, who participated in season 13 Idol Alongside Harris, she remembered the star in an Instagram tribute.
“Your talent and smile will be missed and the world is undoubtedly a darker and eerier quieter place without you,” he wrote. “I’ll miss your random phone calls asking for life advice and talking about the music world… There are so many things I realize I’ll never understand. leaving us so soon is one.”
The musician first auditioned for American Idol on a bus tour to Tuscaloosa, then sang in front of judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. in Salt Lake City.
His take on the Allman Brothers’ hit “Soulshine,” which he dedicated to his father, earned him three votes in Hollywood, and he later had memorable hits such as “Can’t You See” by The Marshall Tucker Band and “If by It. Hadn’t Been for Love” by The SteelDrivers.
After her time on the show, Harris performed with Darius Rucker at the Grand Ole Opry and released the single “In Love” in 2019. He regularly shared videos of himself singing and playing the guitar on TikTok and Instagram, and wrote in October: Facebook that he was working on new music in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
The musician also said on January 1 that he “will have new music coming soon.”
Harris, a father of two, said The Hollywood Reporter In 2014, he auditioned for the first time Idol in 2010 but failed to pass the first round and also attempted unsuccessfully The X-Factor and: The voice.
“I was always on the Internet, trying to find a break, looking for producers to send my stuff to. American Idol and I saw they were doing a bus tour and they were going to be 30 minutes away from me,” he recalled. “You know what? I’m going to give it another chance. I’ve gotten a lot better, my voice has matured and my playing has gotten so much better.”
The musician also said that his love for music started in his childhood, when his mother used to sing to him on the phone while he was in prison.
“Tears would just flow from my eyes,” he said. “When I was a little older, my grandfather gave me a guitar. He had one in the cabin with three wires on it. He said I don’t need to buy a whole new set of wires. So I would tighten it up. so when i hit it it felt like it was some kind of key. I find different sounds. I just love music, so I really try to find a sound that I really like and just play it. I know it’s weird, but that’s what I do.”