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C.J. Harris, a former ‘American Idol’ contestant, died at the age of 31.

C.J. Harris, a former “American Idol” contestant with a soulful voice that wowed the judges and a sweet demeanour that won him legions of fans, died of an apparent heart attack. He was 31 years old at the time.

Harris was in cardiac arrest when he was rushed to a hospital in his hometown of Jasper, Alabama, on Sunday, where he was pronounced dead at 8:53 p.m., according to Deputy Walker County Coroner Danielle Calloway.

“C.J. Harris was an incredible talent, and the news of his passing deeply saddens us,” according to a statement posted on “American Idol’s” official Instagram page. He will be sorely missed.”

In a 2014 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Harris stated that his mother was his first musical influence.

“I was six years old at the time, and my mother was in prison,” Harris recalled. “She’d sing to me over the phone, and tears would just stream down my cheeks.”

Harris later taught himself to play the broken guitar he received from his grandfather.

“He had one in the shed with three strings,” Harris explained in the interview. “He told me I didn’t need to buy a new set of strings. So I’d tune it so that when I strummed it, it sounded like it was in whatever key.”

Harris first tried out for “American Idol” in 2010, as well as Fox’s “The X-Factor” and NBC’s “The Voice.” He didn’t make his musical debut until 2014, when he finished sixth on “American Idol’s” 13th season.

Harris performed the Allman Brothers Band’s “Soulshine” before judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick Jr. at his audition in Salt Lake City. He dedicated the performance to his recently deceased father.

“You sing because you have to, not because you want to,” Urban explained to Harris. “And I mean that in the deepest sense….” That’s why it’s so convincing and real.”

Following performances of “Can’t You See” by the Marshall Tucker Band and “If It Hadn’t Been for Love” by the SteelDrivers, Harris became a contender for the top prize.

Harris went on to perform on the “American Idol” live tour and later shared the stage with one of his idols, former Hootie & the Blowfish singer Darius Rucker, at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2014.

Harris then released his debut single, “In Love,” in 2019. On January 1, he announced on his official Facebook page, “New music coming soon!”

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