Entertainment: The Supermodels of the 1960's

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Former Pop Idol judge Pete Waterman has said Darius Campbell Danesh "could have gone on to be bigger than Michael Buble" in a moving tribute.

Waterman, 75, joined others from the music industry in remembering the Scottish singer and theatre star, who tragically died aged 41.

The Glasgow-born performer's family announced his death in a statement on Tuesday, after he was found unresponsive in bed in his apartment room in Rochester, Minnesota, on August 11.

Local police confirmed there were "no signs of intent or suspicious circumstances", with the cause of his sudden death unknown at this stage, according to the family.

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Darius married actress Natasha Henstridge in 2011 but the couple divorced in 2018 © OK! Magazine Darius married actress Natasha Henstridge in 2011 but the couple divorced in 2018

Hit-making record producer Waterman paid tribute to his "brilliant" friend Darius, who would have turned 42 this Friday (19 August), on ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

He said: “I met him a week before lockdown and we were talking about me going to work with him in the States to mentor him because he wanted to get back into music.

“Darius could have gone on to be bigger than Michael Buble because he’d got that talent.”

Waterman added: “We became great friends because I did champion him.

“He was the most lovely person. He never called me Pete, he always called me Peter.

Celebrity pals and fans have been flocking to social media to pay tribute © OK! Magazine Celebrity pals and fans have been flocking to social media to pay tribute

“The word gentleman is overused but not in Darius’ case. So quiet, so polite, so gentle, I guess he was the perfect person."

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The singer-songwriter and actor first rose to fame on ITV talent show Popstars in 2001, when he was known as Darius Danesh, performing a rendition of Britney Spears' Baby One More Time in his audition.

He then won the nation's hearts on the first Pop Idol, finishing third in the series won by Will Young, 43.

Waterman also spoke to BBC Breakfast to pay tribute to Darius, saying: "He really was what you saw on television, he was just so talented, but so polite…"

After Pop Idol, Darius turned down Simon Cowell’s offer of a record deal and signed with producer Steve Lillywhite, 67, whose credits include U2 and the Rolling Stones.

Darius went on to release two albums and star in numerous West End shows following Pop Idol © OK! Magazine Darius went on to release two albums and star in numerous West End shows following Pop Idol

His debut single, Colourblind, went straight to number one, marking the start of a run of top 10 releases.

The song has re-entered music charts following his death and was listed in the first spot on the iTunes download chart this morning (17 August).

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Pop Idol runner-up Gareth Gates, 38, said he was "heartbroken" at the news, adding: "Darius took me under his wing during our time in Pop Idol, like a big brother; always looking out for me and for that I thank you my friend."

Darius was rumoured to be appearing alongside fellow Young and Gates on an upcoming reunion show to mark the 20th anniversary of Pop Idol.

Music mogul Cowell, 62, said the singer’s death was an "absolute tragedy", saying: "He was charismatic, funny and just a great person to be with."

Darius also won ITV's Popstar To Operastar in 2010 and went on to perform as an opera singer © OK! Magazine Darius also won ITV's Popstar To Operastar in 2010 and went on to perform as an opera singer

Darius also had a successful stage career, appearing in Chicago as Billy Flynn in two runs of the production, as well as Guys And Dolls, Gone With The Wind and more in the West End.

He won the first series of ITV’s Popstar To Operastar talent contest in 2010, beating Bernie Nolan of the Nolan Sisters in the final.

A few months later, Darius landed his first major opera role in a new production of Carmen at London’s O2 Arena, taking on the principal role of toreador Escamillo for a one-off performance.

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READ MORE:

  • Darius Campbell Danesh's ex-wife Natasha Henstridge pays emotional tribute after star's death

  • Inside Darius Campbell Danesh’s life with film star wife as she pays devastating tribute

  • Last picture of Darius seen with friend Gerard Butler in before tragic death age 41

  • Darius Danesh's life after Pop Idol from West End stardom to Hollywood

  • Darius Danesh's incredible Pop Idol stint – from audition to snubbing Simon Cowell's offer

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