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Pop Idol star Rik Waller pays tribute to Darius Danesh

Former reality TV star Rik Waller has paid tribute to fellow singer Darius Danesh, who has died aged 41.

The pair competed in the 2001 series of Pop Idol, which was eventually won by Will Young.

Rik Waller and Darius Danesh. Pic: (Ian West/PA)
Rik Waller and Darius Danesh. Pic: (Ian West/PA)

Speaking this evening just hours after the Scottish singer's death was announced, Rik described him as a "genuine gentleman".

Darius, who came third in the series after Rik was forced to pull out due to ill health, was found dead in his apartment in Rochester, Minnesota, last week.

After finding fame on the ITV show he had a hit with the song Colourblind and starred in the West End shows Chicago, Guys and Dolls and Funny Girl.

Rik, who has moved to Dover after living in Gillingham and Sittingbourne, remembered his pal.

He said: "I have to say that I took an instant liking to him. He was so supportive and really helped me through the auditions.

Pictured in 2001, Rik Waller asking for people's votes
Pictured in 2001, Rik Waller asking for people's votes

"He was always infectiously positive and never knew when to give up.

"He was often mocked for being cheesy, but if you knew him, you'd know that he was just genuinely loving.

"I hadn't spoken to him for donkeys years to be honest, but I still feel absolutely gutted by the news. Genuine gentleman."

Since leaving the limelight, Rik has worked as an exam invigilator in schools and has run a mobile karaoke and disco business with his dad.

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