Former Pop Idol contestant Darius Campbell Danesh has died aged 41, his family has confirmed.

The singer and actor rose to fame on ITV talent shows Popstars and Pop Idol 20 years ago.

Danesh came third on Pop Idol, following both singers Will Young and Gareth Gates in 2002.

The beloved Glasgow-born singer became a household name after his theatrical take of Britney Spears's Hit Me Baby One More Time.

Hereford Times: Darius Danesh attending the International Opera Awards 2014 held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, in London. Credit: PADarius Danesh attending the International Opera Awards 2014 held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, in London. Credit: PA

Following his Pop Idol and Popstar appearances, he went on to become a West End star.

He appeared in musicals like Chicago and the Oliver Award-winning Guys and Dolls.

The singer and actor was found in Rochester, Minnesota, on August 11 – although the cause of death remains unknown.

A statement released by his family, said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Darius Campbell Danesh. Darius was found unresponsive in bed in his apartment room in Rochester, Minnesota, on August 11 and was pronounced dead in the afternoon by the local medical examiners’ office.

“The local police department have confirmed that there were no signs of intent or suspicious circumstances. The cause of his sudden death is unknown at this stage while medical examinations continue.

“We ask that you kindly respect our wishes for privacy at this time whilst we come to terms with the tragic loss of our son and brother.”

Darius lived in the US and found love with Canadian actor Natasha Henstridge, whose films include sci-fi hit Species.

They married in 2011 at the San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara, California, but were divorced a few years later.

Fans and famous faces have flooded social media with tributes following the news. 

Singer Paul Potts wrote on Twitter:" Wow. What a shock. RIP and my thoughts are with his family friends and loved ones."

Another fan added: "Very sad news. Rest in peace Darius."

A third wrote:" Colourblind was an absolute banger, and he was the first big character on the singer reality shows in this country. RIP Darius."

Comedian Johnny Cochrane added:"Just heard the really sad news about Darius Danesh A man responsible for one of the greatest moments in recent U.K. TV history!"

Darius Danesh Colourblind - Watch the music video

The Scottish singer was well known for his debut single 'Colourblind'.

It was the first song from his debut album 'Dive in' which was released in 2002.

The track reached number one in the UK Singles Chart for two weeks and also peaked at number 13 on the Irish Singles Chart.