By Benjamin Cooper, PA
Gerard Butler has said he is “devastated” after the sudden death of his “brother in arms” Darius Campbell Danesh.
The Scottish singer-songwriter and actor, whose family announced his death in the US aged 41 on Tuesday, was pictured with Butler in Malibu recently.
Butler shared a photo online of the pair together smiling, along with the caption: “I am devastated by the sudden passing of my dear friend Darius, a true brother in arms. My thoughts and love go to his wonderful mum and dad Avril and Booth and his two brilliant brothers Aria and Cyrus.
“To those lucky enough to have met Darius for more than a few minutes, they were deeply moved by his infectious laugh and barely containable zest for life.
“He was always armed with a smile, a booming voice, and a genuinely warm embrace that few could resist-nor would they want to!!! He was an incredible talent, a singer whose voice touched your soul and an actor with great presence.
“But, most importantly, he had the heart of a lion. It was bigger and brighter than the sun and an energy so contagious he could light up a room in seconds.”
The singer was known as Darius Danesh when he made his first bid for fame on ITV show Popstars in 2001.
He also appeared on the first series of Pop Idol, which was won by Will Young, and after coming third on the show, Campbell Danesh turned down Simon Cowell’s offer of a record deal and signed with music titan Steve Lillywhite.
Butler (51), who is best known for films such as 300, Law Abiding Citizen and Olympus Has Fallen and its sequels, said his friend was driven to “inspire others to better themselves”.
“Our boy Darius was always constant and unwavering in his passion for life,” Butler said.
“But a bigger constant was his dream to inspire others to better themselves. He talked the talk but boy, did he walk the walk. He had such purity of thought, a deep wisdom and constant gratitude for people, for life, a compassion towards all.
“His hilarious self-deprecating sense of humor (he was funny as shit) allowed him to stay humble – something he valued deeply. Darius’ undying commitment to being of service to individuals- his family, his friends (none more so than me) and to the world at large made him the perfect friend.
We are very sorry to hear of the passing of Darius Campbell Danesh at such a tragically young age. We had many laughs with him on his Pop Idol journey. Our hearts go out to his lovely family. #RIP 🙏
— antanddec (@antanddec) August 17, 2022
“He led by example but he was also a teacher, as he pushed those he loved to be the best possible versions of themselves.
Butler added: “The universe unfolds in ways we may not agree with or even understand. Somewhere in there I believe there is, or will be, some meaning in why he left us so early. If it was nothing more than teaching us to live with that open heart, putting others first and never taking ourselves too seriously as we learn to traverse this wonky world we live in then, that might be enough.
“But something tells me there will be way more waves created by our boy Darius further down the line. My heart aches heavily. But going forward, I will beat my drum louder and celebrate life and its every beautiful moment because my brother showed me that was a pretty awesome way to go about it.”
The Iceman director Ariel Vroman replied to the post, saying: “Amazing words my brother – we will miss Darius a lot.”
Campbell Danesh’s debut single, Colourblind, was released in July 2002 and went straight to number one, marking the start of a run of top 10 releases.
Since his death the song has re-entered music charts in the UK and on Wednesday morning was in top spot on the iTunes download chart.
Campbell Danesh’s family said in a statement he was “found unresponsive in bed in his apartment room in Rochester, Minnesota, on August 11 and was pronounced dead in the afternoon by the local medical examiners’ office”.
Local police confirmed there were “no signs of intent or suspicious circumstances”, with the cause of his death unknown at this stage, the family added.
Former Pop Idol judges Simon Cowell, Pete Waterman and the runner-up from the first series, Gareth Gates, also paid tribute to Campbell Danesh following the news.