NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM0 – With her fiery red hair, distinct style and impressive vocals, singer Nikki McKibbin, who catapulted to stardom alongside Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini on the first season of “American Idol,” died at age 42.

McKibbin’s husband, Craig Sadler posted on Facebook that the Grand Prairie native suffered a brain aneurysm on Wednesday. Sadler, who lives in Fort Worth, said doctors were keeping McKibben on life support so that her organs could be donated to those in need.

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“She would already be gone, but she’s an organ donor and has been kept on life support to make that possible. That shouldn’t be a surprise to us. Even at the end she is still giving,” it read in part.


Guarini also shared news of her death in a heartfelt Instagram post writing: “Nikki McKibben 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. ⁣

Even in our 20’s when we were on American Idol together I could tell that she’d had a challenging life, and that not that many people had been kind to her along the way…⁣

…but I’ll never forget the day that her idol, Stevie Nicks, sent her flowers with a card that said “You are the Gypsy that I was…”. Nikki was on cloud nine and the joy and excitement that radiated from her was infectious. After the kind of emotional beating she took at the hands of the masses, she deserved to feel good about herself, even for a little while. ⁣

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.”

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Former Idol Judge Paula Abdul also shared condolences to McKibben’s family, tweeting: “Nikki McKibbin was a strong & spirited woman who always stayed true to who she was. She could bring the house down with her powerful voice and captivating stage presence. Our first season of Idol would not have been what it was without her. My love & prayers go out to her family.”

The show released an official statement on social media as well after the news broke.

“Nikki McKibbin was an incredible talent and we are deeply saddened by the news of her passing,” read a tweet. “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.”

McKibbin placed third on “American Idol” in 2002. Her most memorable performance on the show was a cover of Alannah Myles’ “Black Velvet.” She also covered songs by Alanis Morissette, Melissa Etheridge, Janis Joplin and Stevie Nicks.

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