Nikki McKibbin, American Idol Finalist, Dead at 42

Photo: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Nikki McKibbin, singer, songwriter, and finalist in American Idol’s debut season, has died at the age of 42 after suffering a brain aneurysm on Wednesday of last week. According to the New York Times, McKibbin’s husband, Craig Sadler, said in a Facebook post that the singer was to be taken off life support early Sunday morning, during which hospital staff would play Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” for McKibbin, who, Sadler writes, “practically worshiped Steve Nicks.”

American Idol fans will likely remember McKibbin and her bright-red hair from the reality competition show’s massively successful first season in 2002 on Fox. The singer finished third behind winner Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini, who memorialized his former competitor on Instagram as “a fiery, funny lady who would sing the hell out of a rock song.”

“Nikki McKibbin was an incredible talent and we are deeply saddened by the news of her passing,” an American Idol spokesperson said in a statement Sunday. “She was part of our American Idol family and will be truly missed. Our hearts and prayers go out to her family and friends during this difficult time.”

Nikki McKibbin, American Idol Finalist, Dead at 42