Former American Idol star Clay Aiken’s political rival for the Democratic nomination in North Carolina’s Second Congressional District was found dead on Monday. Keith Crisco, who was running narrowly behind Clay Aiken in the Democratic primary, reportedly died in a fall. He was 71.

Crisco, a former state commerce secreatary, died around 1 PM at his home in Asheboro, North Carolina from injuries sustained in an accidental fall, according to The Asheboro Courier-Tribune. He was reportedly declared dead at the scene by emergency responders. No other immediate details about the incident were released. An exact cause of death has not yet been officially determined.

Clay-Aiken-and-Keith-Crisco

At the time of his death, Crisco was only 300 to 400 votes behind Clay Aiken in the NC Second District Democratic primary race and had yet to concede. Election officials were scheduled to meet on Tuesday to determine if a runoff election would be needed in the primary.

On learning of his opponent’s death, American Idol and Celebrity Apprentice Star Clay Aiken issued a statement saying he was suspending all campaign activities and offering condolences to Crisco’s family.

“He was a gentleman, a good and honorable man and an extraordinary public servant,” Aiken said. The former singer said he was “stunned and deeply saddened” by Crisco’s death.


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