‘American Idol’ Alum Nikki McKibbin Dead at 42
Nikki McKibbin Sadler, who was a contestant on the first season of American Idol and reached the final three with ultimate winner Kelly Clarkson, has died of a brain aneurysm. She was 42.
McKibbin's husband, Craig Sadler, posted to Facebook the sad news on Saturday (October 30). "The love of my life, Nikki Sadler, suffered an aneurysm on Wednesday," he wrote, explaining that her life had been prolonged a bit in order to honor her wish to be an organ donor.
"She would already be gone, [but] has been kept on life support to make that possible," he elaborated. "That shouldn't be a surprise to us. Even at the end she is still giving."
Sadler reached out to fans, asking them to remember his wife's love for rock icon Stevie Nicks by playing Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" in her honor, which he said would be played in the operating room while harvesting her organs.
"She will know that you're sharing her farewell," he said. "She was so loved that I know thousands of you will be grieving with us. There are only a few hours left for me to hold her hand and kiss her forehead."
Following her passing, Sadler posted a shot of the two together cuddling in a sweet moment at home. "It eases the pain to be reminded of how loved she was," he noted. "I believe that Nikki can feel your love."
The singer placed third in the famed talent competition, after Clarkson and runner-up Justin Guarini. Picked up by a major label and management company following the season, McKibbin was urged to record a country album, but she ultimately passed, saying it was not true to her rocker roots. She eventually put out an album, Unleashed, in 2007, which would be her sole full-length release. She had a lengthy history with substance abuse, but at the time of her death had marked 12 years of sobriety.
American Idol posted to its Twitter account a note of sorrow regarding her passing: "Nikki McKibbin was an incredible talent and we are deeply saddened by the news of her passing. 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."
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