C.J. Harris, ‘American Idol’ Alum, Dies at 31

C.J. Harris, a singer who competed on the 2014 season of American Idol, died Sunday at age 31.

The Jasper, Alabama, native was reportedly rushed to a local hospital after suffering a medical emergency, according to Variety, and the Walker County Coroner’s Office later confirmed his death. However, no other details, including cause of death, were given as of press time.

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Harris competed on season 13 of the singing competition, initially auditioning for judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. in Salt Lake City with a rendition of The Allman Brothers Band’s “Soulshine.” After making it through the Hollywood round, the hopeful was voted a Wild Card by the public in the semifinals and earned his way into the live shows with a soulful performance of Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home to Me.”

Some of Harris’ most memorable musical numbers during season 13’s live shows included “Radio” by Darius Rucker, Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin'” and both “Waiting on the World to Change” and “Gravity” from John Mayer’s 2006 album Continuum. Eventually, the guitarist came in sixth place, being eliminated during Rock ‘n’ Roll / Country Week with dual performances of the Guess Who’s “American Woman” and Zac Brown Band’s “Whatever It Is.”

Harris toured with the rest of the season 13 finalists after Caleb Johnson was crowned that year’s winner over runner-up Jena Irene, and he released his debut single, titled “In Love,” back in 2019. Just weeks ago, Harris kicked off the new year by promising new music was “coming soon” with a smiling selfie on his Facebook page.

The American Idol Instagram account shared a Stories tribute to the late singer on Monday (Jan. 16), writing, “C.J. Harris was an incredible talent, and the news of his passing deeply saddens us. He will be truly missed.”

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