Nikki McKibbin, who appeared on the first season of “American Idol,” has died at the age of 42. McKibbin is said to have died of a brain aneurysm according to sources close to McKibbin’s family.
McKibbin placed in the top three during “American Idol’s” debut season in 2002, finishing behind runner-up Justin Guarini and winner Kelly Clarkson. On Saturday, Guarini posted a touching tribute to McKibbin on Instagram.
“@realnikkimckibbin was a fiery, funny lady who could sing the Hell out of a rock song with the same kind of ease and command she lovingly used to cut you with her twangy Southern wit,” 42-year-old Guarini penned.
“Rest well, ‘Gypsy’…and thank you for the laughter, merciless teasing, strength, vulnerability, love and friendship you showed me during our time together in the spotlight. #rip #americanidol,” he continued.
“American Idol” also honored McKibbin on Sunday, calling her an “incredible talent.”
“Nikki McKibbin was an incredible talent and we are deeply saddened by the news of her passing. 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,” the show tweeted.
In addition to “American Idol,” McKibbin also starred in an episode of “Fear Factor,” as well as the “Battle of the Network Reality Stars.” McKibbin also appeared on “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” in 2008.
In 2014, McKibbin was featured on Season 13 of “American Idol,” in which her teen son Tristan tried out for the show.