After news broke Sunday morning that American Idol contestant Nikki McKibbin of Season 1 fame had died of a brain aneurysm, the reality TV show star's husband is sharing a heartbreaking detail into her final moments. Taking to Facebook on Saturday night, McKibbin's husband, Craig Sadler, shared a tender note about the "love" of his life, Nikki, admitting some friends and family already knew "something" was wrong.
"[She] suffered an aneurysm on Wednesday. She would already be gone, but she's an organ donor and has been kept on life support to make that possible," he wrote in the Facebook post. "That shouldn't be a surprise to us. Even at the end, she is still giving. She was so loved that I know thousands of you will be grieving with us. There are only a few hours left for me to hold her hand and kiss her forehead."
He shared how the current COVID situation won't allow for the "huge service" she deserves, but the family is allowing friends and fans to honor her. "She will be taken to the OR at 3:00 am Central time to give her final gift that will save the lives of strangers. You probably know she practically worshiped Stevie Nicks. Before they begin, they will play 'Landslide' for her one last time," he said. "If you are able, you can pause at 3:00 wherever you are and listen to it with her. She will know that you're sharing her farewell. She loved so many of you and I know you loved her too."
McKibbin performed on American Idol when the reality TV show started developing a huge audience and an unprecedented staple in pop culture history. 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."
Former Season 1 contestant and runner-up to Kelly Clarkson, Justin Guarini paid tribute to the star with a heartbreaking message. "Nikki McKibbin 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," he wrote alongside a photo of her, further recounting her love for Stevie Nicks and a moment in time that had the aspiring singer over the moon.
"I'll never forget the day that her idol, Stevie Nicks, sent her flowers with a card that said 'You are the Gypsy that I was...' Nikki was on cloud nine and the joy and excitement that radiated from her was infectious," he added. "After the kind of emotional beating she took at the hands of the masses, she deserved to feel good about herself, even for a little while."
McKibbin was not the only member of her family to compete on Idol. In 2014, her 15-year-old son Tristan Langley auditioned for the series, making it to the Hollywood round, but later cut from the competition. She struggled with substance abuse issues during her life and 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.