American Idol contestant Nikki McKibbin, who finished third in first season, dies at 42

ARLINGTON, Texas – Nikki McKibbin, a singer from Texas best known for her third place finish in the first season of American Idol, has passed away. She was 42 years old.

McKibbin’s husband Craig Sadler confirmed her death in a Facebook post, saying she died of a brain aneurysm on Wednesday and was taken out of the intensive care system early Sunday. Her husband did not say where she died.

McKibbin’s son, Tristen Langley, told the New York Times that her mother died in Arlington, Texas.

“She was loved so much that I know thousands of you will mourn with us,” Sadler said. “She loved so many of you and I know you loved her too.”

McKibbin appeared on American Idol in 2002 when the show started and became an instant hit.

At 23 from Grand Prairie, Texas, McKibbin wowed the judges with moving performances of songs by Janis Joplin, Stevie Nicks and a moving cover of Alanna Myles’ song “Black Velvet”.

McKibbin finished third on the show that year, behind Justin Guarini and Kelly Clarkson, who won the competition.

Graceful in defeat, McKibbin tearfully hugged her comrades upon her elimination in 2002.

“What an incredible journey this has been,” McKibbin said before leaving the stage. “Knowing that so many people support me and appreciate what I do means more than anything. “

Equally graceful was Simon Cowell, often with an acid tongue.

“Reality check: out of 10,000 people, you are third. Now is not the time to cry, ”he told McKibbin. “You have a career ahead of you. “

In a statement, American Idol sent its condolences to McKibbin’s family and friends.

“Nikki McKibbin was an incredible talent and we are deeply saddened by the news of her passing,” the TV show said in a statement on Twitter. “She was part of our American Idol family and will be truly missed.”

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