CJ Harris, the former American Idol contestant whose soulful voice wowed the judges and whose sweet demeanor won legions of fans, has died of an apparent heart attack. He was 31 years old.

Harris was in cardiac arrest when he was rushed Sunday to a hospital in his hometown of Jasper, Alabama, where he was pronounced dead at 8:53 p.m., Danielle Calloway, an assistant coroner for the county coroner’s office, told NBC News. Walker County.

«CJ Harris was an incredible talent, and the news of his passing deeply saddens us,» said a statement posted on American Idol Official Instagram Page read. «He will be truly missed. He really will be missed.»

harris said the hollywood reporter in a 2014 interview that his mother was his first musical influence.

«I was six years old and my mother was in prison,» Harris recalled. «She sang to me on the phone and tears welled up in my eyes.»

Later, Harris taught himself to play the broken guitar his grandfather gave him.

“I had one in the shed and it had three strings on it,” Harris said in the same interview. “He said he didn’t need to buy a whole new set of strings. So he tuned it so that when he strummed it, he sounded like he was in a key of whatever.»

Harris first auditioned for American Idol in 2010 and also unsuccessfully tried to win a spot on Fox’s The X-Factor and NBC’s The Voice. It wasn’t until 2014 that Harris made his musical mark when he placed sixth on the 13th season of American Idol.

At her audition in Salt Lake City, Harris performed the Allman Brothers Band song «Soulshine» before then-judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. She dedicated the performance to her father, who had recently passed away.

«You sing because you have to sing, not because you want to sing» Urbano told Harris. «And I mean that in the deepest way… That’s why it’s so believable and real.»

Harris then became a top award contender with performances of The Marshall Tucker Band’s «Can’t You See» and The SteelDrivers’ «If It Hadn’t Been for Love.»

Following her time on «American Idol,» Harris performed on the show’s live tour and later shared the stage with one of her idols, former «Hootie & the Blowfish» singer Darius Rucker, at the Grand Ole Opry. in 2014.

Then in 2019, Harris released her debut single, «In Love.» And on New Year’s Day, Harris posted on his official facebook page«New music coming soon!»