Nikki McKibbin, who reached the last three in American Idol’s first season, has died at the age of 42. Your competitor and runner-up in season one, Justin Guarini, shared the news on Instagram. Her death was attributed to complications from an aneurysm.
McKibbin and Guarini lost to Kelly Clarkson in their first season. Her rendition of Alannah Myles’ song Black Velvet was her most memorable moment. She also played songs by Alanis Morissette, Bonnie Tyler, Janis Joplin and Melissa Etheridge.
McKibbin, from Grand Prairie, Texas, was fondly remembered by Guarini on his Instagram post.
“@Realnikkimckibbin was a fiery, fun woman who could sing the hell out of a rock song with the same ease and command she used to lovingly cut you with her crazy southern joke,” he wrote. “Even in our 20s when we were on American Idol together, I could tell that she had lived a challenging life and not many people had been kind to her along the way.
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“But I’ll never forget the day her idol Stevie Nicks sent her flowers with a card that said, ‘You’re the gypsy I was …” Nikki was on cloud nine and the joy and excitement, that radiated from her was contagious. After the kind of emotional beating she’d received from the crowds, she deserved to feel good even for a short time. Get some rest “Gypsies … and thank you for the laughter, the merciless teasing, the strength, the vulnerability, the love and the friendship that you showed me in the spotlight during our time together. #rip #americanidol. ”
McKibbin was signed to RCAs 19 Records after his idol stint. But it wasn’t until 2007 that she got an album out, Unleashed.
She previously competed in the WB Popstars competition, and years after appearing on American Idol, she appeared on the VH1 reality show Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew up, claiming to be addicted to alcohol and cocaine. This led to stations in the shows Sober House, Fear Factor and Bravos Battle of the Network Reality Stars.
McKibbin made a brief appearance in 2014 when her 15-year-old son Tristan Langley auditioned.
Survivors include their son and husband, Craig. No memorial plans were revealed.