The Heartbreaking Death Of American Idol's Nikki McKibbin

American Idol alum Nikki McKibbin has died at the age of 42. McKibbin starred on the first season of the show, and quickly became a standout, ultimately finishing third behind fellow competitors Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini. It was Guarini who broke the news of her death on Halloween night, with a touching Instagram tribute to the "fiery" singer who loved Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks. 

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Guarini's Instagram post showed the impact McKibbin had on him, and made it clear she was a force to be reckoned with, even as hardships came her way. "@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. 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...⁣" he wrote.

Nikki McKibbin showed 'strength and vulnerability'

Guarini continued, "...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." ⁣

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He concluded his tribute with heartbreaking words of appreciation for McKibbin, saying, "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."

TMZ reports that McKibbin died of a brain aneurysm, and was surrounded by family when she passed. McKibbin is survived by her husband, Craig Sadler, whom she married in 2007, and her son, Tristan Langley (via NBC).

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