Keith Crisco, who was in a tight primary race for a North Carolina Democratic congressional seat with American Idol alum Clay Aiken, died unexpectedly on Monday.

Keith Crisco Dies

Crisco, 71, was found dead at his Asheboro, N.C., home, where he was pronounced dead at 1 p.m. The politician apparently died as a result of injuries sustained in a fall, reported the Washington Post. No further details have been provided.

In the race for the Democratic nomination for North Carolina’s 2nd congressional district, Crisco and Aiken were locked in a close battle. Though Aiken reportedly had more votes, the margin of separation (less than 400) was too narrow to definitively call the race in his favor. Crisco had opted not to concede the race and was content to wait for a final count that would include absentee ballots that had yet to be considered.

Aiken responded to the news of Crisco’s untimely death with a statement in which he expressed his sorrow and decision to suspend his campaign for the time being.

“I am stunned and deeply saddened by Keith Crisco's death,” Aiken wrote. “Keith came from humble beginnings. No matter how high he rose – to Harvard, to the White House and to the Governor's Cabinet – he never forgot where he came from.”

“He was a gentleman, a good and honorable man and an extraordinary public servant. I was honored to know him,” the singer added. “I am suspending all campaign activities as we pray for his family and friends.”

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