Nikki McKibbin, a finalist on American Idol‘s first season in 2002, died this Sunday in an Arlington, Texas hospital after suffering a brain aneurysm at 42, according to her husband Craig Sadler and son Tristan Langley.

“She was so loved that I know thousands of you will be grieving with us,” Sadler wrote on Facebook.

McKibbin was known among American Idol fans for her striking bright red hair, punk style and soulful covers. She was also a big fan of Stevie Nicks, and covered her song “Edge of Seventeen” on Idol. Sadler said that before her final operation, they listened to Nicks’ song with Fleetwood Mac “Landslide” together. Nicks apparently also wrote to McKibbin during her time on Idol, according to her costar Justin Guarini‘s post in memorial of her.

Alongside Guarini, McKibbin’s other Idol costars including Ryan Seacrest and Paula Abdul posted mourning her death.


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“Nikki McKibbin was an incredible talent and we are deeply saddened by the news of her passing,” the post by American Idol‘s official account reads. “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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