American Idol season seven contestant Michael Johns has died at the age of 35. Reports have stated that the cause of death was due to a blood clot in the singer’s ankle.
Sources close to the singer informed TMZ that the he had suffered a twisted ankle in the days before his death and was experiencing excruciating pain. The twist reportedly triggered the blood clot, which led to Johns passing in his sleep on Friday night. Said sources do not believe that he suffered. Recent reports state that Johns visited a doctor the day prior to his death to address the swelling and bruising of his ankle, which had traveled up his leg. The doctor in question could not identify a specific problem, so Johns was sent home. He chose to reside at a friend’s apartment the following day, shortly after which he was found unresponsive on the friend’s couch.
Johns placed eighth in the seventh season of the hit singing competition American Idol, after performing a cover of Aerosmith’s Dream On for the top eight theme of Inspirational Music. He had become a fan favorite for fans of alternative rock, but this was not enough to provide him with enough votes to stay in the competition. He was reportedly close friends with David Cook, the winner of the season he competed on.
Born in Perth, Australia in 1978, Johns discovered his love of music at an early age. As a teenager, he participated in many musicals and school plays, including Pinocchio and Anything Goes. After a brief stint at Perth’s Newman College, he moved to the United States at the age of 18. He majored in drama for a short time at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College before making the decision to drop out. Following this, the singer played Australian rules football for the United States Australian Football League, which lasted approximately a year.
John’s then became the lead singer of a band called Film, before signing to Madonna’s Maverick Records in 2002 as a solo artist. This album was recorded under the singer’s birth name, Michael Lee. After said album was recorded, Johns put together his own band and called it The Rising. Entitled Future Unknown, the album’s tracks got little to no airplay on the radio, but was released on iTunes after John’s run on American Idol. Following his elimination, he was signed to Colombia records, but the deal did not last long as he was dropped from the record label soon after. It was then that he began to use the name Michael Johns, reportedly as an homage to his stepfather, who shares the same middle name. This also lead to his decision to make the last name plural, as there were now two of them. He went on to release a few self-produced singles, including the song Hold Back My Heart, which sold an approximate 20,000 copies. He released his last EP in 2012, entitled Love & Sex. The EP included three songs.
Johns was well-known for his charity work. In fact, half of the proceeds from his 2008 Christmas track Another Christmas were said to be donated to both the Red Cross and ALS. He worked closely with legendary philanthropist and producer David Foster, whose 2013 Foster Foundation charity event Johns attended in Canada. He also assisted former American Idol head honcho Nigel Lythgoe with an enormous amount of charity work, including Idol Gives Back.
Authorities involved in the matter say they do not suspect foul play of any kind in the death of Michael Johns. His family and friends have asked for respect and privacy in their time of grief.
by Rebecca Grace