C.J. Harris Dies: ‘American Idol’ Contestant Was 31

C.J. Harris, a Top 6 contestant on American Idol in 2014, died Sunday of a reported heart attack in his hometown of Jasper, Alabama. He was 31.

His death was confirmed by first reported on the Jasper radio station WJLX.FM. Family sources tell TMZ he died of a heart attack, and local news reports say he died at the Walker Baptist Medical Center in Jasper.

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His death has been confirmed by the Walker County Coroner’s Office.

American Idol, on its Instagram Story, wrote today, “C.J. Harris was an incredible talent, and the news of his passing deeply saddens us. He will be truly missed.”

Jessica Meuse, who also competed on Idol‘s Season 13, said about Harris on Instagram:

I’m completely shocked. Your talent and smile will be missed, and the world is definitely a darker and eerily quieter place without you in it. I’ll miss your random phone calls asking for life advice and talking about the music world. When you go through something like Idol together, it brings everyone involved together like a big, weird, dysfunctional family. I’m grateful that our paths crossed and that I can say you were (and always will be) a part of mine. There are a lot of things I realize I will never understand — you leaving us so soon is one of those things. Rest easy, friend. See you on the other side.

Born Curtis Harris, the singer first attended an American Idol audition in 2010, and subsequently (and unsuccessfully) tried out for both The X-Factor and The Voice. He tried again for American Idol‘s 2014 Season 13 at auditions in Salt Lake City while he was working as both an indie musician and a restaurant worker.

Harris advanced to the season’s semi-finals, most memorably performing covers of the Allman Brothers Band song “Soulshine” and “Can’t You See” by The Marshall Tucker Band. He reached sixth place before being eliminated on April 24, 2014. (The year’s winner was Caleb Johnson.)

After his Idol season, Harris continued his music career, releasing his debut single in 2019 with the song “In Love.”

Details on survivors were not immediately available.

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