American Idol contestant Nikki McKibbin has died. On Sunday, TMZ reported that the former reality contestant died of a brain aneurysm. She was 42. American Idol fans will recall that McKibbin competed on the inaugural season of the series back in 2002. She came in third behind Justin Guarini and Kelly Clarkson, who won the first season.
TMZ reported that sources close to McKibbin's family said that she died of a brain aneurysm. She was later in the hospital on life support. Around 3 a.m. on Sunday, she was taken to the operating room where her organs were harvested for donation and she was pronounced dead. She was married to Craig Sadler since 2007 and she was reportedly surrounded by her family at the time of her passing. McKibbin performed on American Idol when the show was beginning to develop huge audiences for its episodes. Throughout her time on the competition, she performed covers from singers such as Melissa Etheridge, Janis Joplin, Alanis Morissette, and Stevie Nicks. Her most well-known performance may be her rendition of Alannah Myles' song "Black Velvet."
As TMZ noted, she was not the only member of her family to have competed on American Idol. In 2014, her 15-year-old son Tristan Langley auditioned for the show. He made it to the Hollywood round, but he was later cut from the competition. During McKibbin's life, she struggled with substance abuse issues. She appeared on Dr. Drew's Celebrity Rehab in 2008. She later moved into a sober living house, and her time at the location was chronicled on Sober House, a spinoff of Celebrity Rehab. In addition to appearing on those shows, McKibbin also appeared on Fear Factor and Battle of the Network Reality Stars.
On Instagram, Guarini, who competed alongside McKibbin on American Idol, paid tribute to the star with an incredibly touching message. "@realnikkimckibbin was a fiery, funny lady who could 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," Guarini wrote alongside a photo of McKibbin. He recounted the time when Stevie Nicks sent the late singer flowers after she performed Fleetwood Mac's "Gypsy," a moment that left her ecstatic. He concluded his post with, "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."