Nikki McKibbin, ‘American Idol’ Season 1 Finalist, Dies at 42

Rosemary Rossi
·2-min read

“American Idol” Season 1 finalist Nikki McKibbin died late Halloween night at age 42. Justin Guarini, who finished No. 2 that season, broke the news on Instagram.

According to Red Eye Radio host, Gary McNamara, McKibbin suffered an aneurysm and had been put on life support.

“I witnessed my friend Nikki (McKibbin) Sadler go from a Karaoke bar to finalist on 1st year of American Idol. She is on life support after suffering an aneurysm. They will end life support tonight. Please pray for her husband Craig and family. I am heartbroken,” he tweeted Saturday evening.

Guarini called McKibbin “a fiery, funny lady who could sing the Hell out of a rock song with the same kind of ease and command she lovingly used to cut you with her twangy Southern wit. Even in our 20’s when we were on American Idol together I could tell that she’d had a challenging life, and that not that many people had been kind to her along the way but I’ll never forget the day that her idol, Stevie Nicks, sent her flowers with a card that said ‘You are the Gypsy that I was.'”

Kelly Clarkson Justin Guarini Nikki McKibbin American Idol
Kelly Clarkson Justin Guarini Nikki McKibbin American Idol

Kelly Clarkson, Justin Guarini and Nikki McKibbin on Season 1 of “American Idol” (Getty Images)

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He continued: “Nikki was on cloud nine and the joy and excitement that radiated from her was infectious. After the kind of emotional beating she took at the hands of the masses, she deserved to feel good about herself, even for a little while. Rest well, ‘Gypsy…and thank you for the laughter, merciless teasing, strength, vulnerability, love and friendship you showed me during our time together in the spotlight. #rip #americanidol

The Texas native was among the final three in the inagurual “American Idol” season in 2002, along with Guarini and winner Kelly Clarkson. Twelve years, later she returned as back-up for her son Tristen Langley’s audition. Judge Jennifer Lopez immediately recognized her. “Wait a minute, I kinda remember you,” JLo said when she spotted McKibbin.

McKibbin went on to give vocal lessons and performance lessons in Fort Worth, Texas. “I pretty much, you know, prepare kids for stuff like this,” she told TooFab back in 2014. “Working on getting the band back together because I literally put my entire life on hold for Tristan as far as my musical stuff that I was trying to accomplish. I just dropped everything so he could have the chance.”

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@realnikkimckibbin was a fiery, funny lady who could sing the Hell out of a rock song with the same kind of ease and command she lovingly used to cut you with her twangy Southern wit. ⁣ ⁣ Even in our 20’s when we were on American Idol together I could tell that she’d had a challenging life, and that not that many people had been kind to her along the way…⁣ ⁣ …but I’ll never forget the day that her idol, Stevie Nicks, sent her flowers with a card that said “You are the Gypsy that I was…”. Nikki was on cloud nine and the joy and excitement that radiated from her was infectious. After the kind of emotional beating she took at the hands of the masses, she deserved to feel good about herself, even for a little while. ⁣ ⁣ Rest well, “Gypsy”…and thank you for the laughter, merciless teasing, strength, vulnerability, love and friendship you showed me during our time together in the spotlight. #rip #americanidol

A post shared by Justin Guarini (@justinguarini) on Oct 31, 2020 at 3:48pm PDT

Read original story Nikki McKibbin, ‘American Idol’ Season 1 Finalist, Dies at 42 At TheWrap