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Gerard Butler pays tribute to his ‘dear friend’ Darius Campbell Danesh

Gerard Butler has written a touching tribute to his ‘dear friend’ Darius Campbell Danesh alongside a previously unseen picture of himself alongside the tragic singer. 

The actor, known for his portrayal of Spartan king Leonidas in Zack Snyder’s hit film 300, revealed how he was ‘devastated’ at the sudden passing of his ‘true brother in arms’.

He offered his thoughts and love to Darius’ ‘wonderful mum and dad’ Avril and Booth, along with his ‘two brilliant brothers’ Aria and Cyrus. 

Darius, 41, was found unresponsive in a room inside the Berkman apartments opposite the Mayo Clinic specialist treatment centre in Rochester, Minnesota on August 11. He had checked in using the name Morgan Brown, a source there said. 

Campbell Danesh had become close friends with Butler, his fellow Scot, in recent months, and he was among the last people to be pictured with him before his death. 

The pair are believed to have been introduced by pop legend Rod Stewart after the Colourblind singer moved out to America. 

Recent photos show Darius and Butler walking barefoot together near Malibu Beach and at the Coachella rock festival last April. In March, they travelled to Glasgow together. 

Butler has today paid tribute to his friend, writing: ‘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. 

Gerard Butler revealed how he was ‘devastated’ at the sudden passing of his ‘true brother in arms’ Darius Campbell Danesh

Darius (left) is pictured with Glasgow-based hair stylist Taylor Ferguson (centre) and actor Gerard Butler (right) in March

Darius (left) is pictured with Glasgow-based hair stylist Taylor Ferguson (centre) and actor Gerard Butler (right) in March

Actor Gerard Butler goes shoeless while taking a stroll along the Malibu shores with Darius Campbell Danesh

Actor Gerard Butler goes shoeless while taking a stroll along the Malibu shores with Darius Campbell Danesh

‘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.

‘Our boy Darius was always constant and unwavering in his passion for life. But a bigger constant was his dream to inspire others to better themselves. He talked the talk but boy, did he walk the walk. 

Butler has today paid tribute to his friend, writing: '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'

Butler has today paid tribute to his friend, writing: ‘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 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. He led by example but he was also a teacher, as he pushed those he loved to be the best possible versions of themselves.

‘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.’

It comes after former beauty queen Claire Caudwell, 53,  revealed that she had an 18-month ‘on-off relationship’ with tragic Darius Campbell Danesh and has been left devastated by his sudden death.

The former partner of phones4U founder John Caudwell has spoken of her romance with the star and praised him as ‘a wonderful human being’. 

She said that she had an ‘on-off relationship’ for around 18 months with the singer and theatre star who was found dead aged 41 in a hotel apartment in the United States last Thursday. 

But in an exclusive interview with MailOnline, she revealed that they stayed ‘fantastic friends’ after they split up about three-years-ago. 

Claire said she had been left ‘heartbroken’ by the news of his death, and had no idea about him having suffering any problems or personal issues. 

Former beauty queen Claire Caudwell, 53, had an ‘on-off relationship’ for around 18 months with the tragic singer and theatre star, pictured together, who was found dead aged 41 in a hotel apartment in the United States last Thursday

Former beauty queen Claire Caudwell, 53, had an ‘on-off relationship’ for around 18 months with the tragic singer and theatre star, pictured together, who was found dead aged 41 in a hotel apartment in the United States last Thursday

The glamorous socialite told her 28,000 followers on Instagram of her sadness on Wednesday, posting a tribute to him, pictured

The glamorous socialite told her 28,000 followers on Instagram of her sadness on Wednesday, posting a tribute to him, pictured 

The glamorous socialite told her 28,000 followers on Instagram of her sadness on Wednesday, saying: ‘This post is done with the heaviest hearts right now as I’ve heard the news today as one of my most treasured friends has suddenly passed.

‘I’m beyond shocked and saddened and my love and deepest condolences go to his wonderful family. I’m sure my love, you’re singing to the angels.’

In a sentence, studded with heart and broken-heart emojis, she added: ‘You were my angel. Darius my love.’ 

Claire who lives with her 18-year-old son Jacobi from her relationship with philanthropist Caudwell told MailOnline: ‘I am completely heartbroken and feel like I have lost one of my dearest friends. I loved him dearly and my heart goes out to his family, his wonderful parents and brothers.’ 

Claire, pictured with ex-partner Caudwell, says she is heartbroken after the death of Darius last week

Claire, pictured with ex-partner Caudwell, says she is heartbroken after the death of Darius last week

Claire started dating Scottish star Darius in around 2018 soon after his final split from his Canadian actress wife Natasha Henstridge. Pictured: Darius and Claire in one of her social media posts

Claire started dating Scottish star Darius in around 2018 soon after his final split from his Canadian actress wife Natasha Henstridge. Pictured: Darius and Claire in one of her social media posts 

Darius, pictured in one of her social media posts, first met Claire in around 2004. He supported events for the Caudwell Children charity founded by her former partner

Darius, pictured in one of her social media posts, first met Claire in around 2004. He supported events for the Caudwell Children charity founded by her former partner 

Claire started dating Scottish star Darius in around 2018 soon after his final split from his Canadian actress wife Natasha Henstridge. But she first met him around 14 years earlier when he supported events for the Caudwell Children charity, founded by her former partner, after he shot to fame on TV talent shows Popstars and Pop Idol in 2001. 

The singer became friendly with Claire and her then partner Caudwell, even visiting his mother Beryl and singing songs at her bedside including Nessun Dorma and Nat King Cole’s Smile, after she became housebound by a stroke.

Claire said: ‘We first met about 18-years-ago when he came out of Pop Idol and he was doing the celebrity circuit. He came to our Caudwell Children charity ball as a guest to support us back then.

‘There were a couple of other charitable things we saw him at over the next couple of years. 

‘I didn’t see him after that for 10 years or more because he moved to America when he married Natasha. He was doing well there, and I never saw him.

Darius had serenaded John Caudwell's mother several times before her death, and was pictured with her in photographs on Claire's social media

Darius had serenaded John Caudwell’s mother several times before her death, and was pictured with her in photographs on Claire’s social media 

Claire, pictured with Darius, said their relationship was on and off when it started  because he was touring with a show for a few months so they got together as and when

Claire, pictured with Darius, said their relationship was on and off when it started  because he was touring with a show for a few months so they got together as and when

She said that she spent around 18 months together with Darius, pictured together, on and off

She said that she spent around 18 months together with Darius, pictured together, on and off 

‘Then about four or five years ago, I was taking my mother to see the show Funny Girl which he was touring in. 

‘He came to my local theatre in Stoke-on-Trent. I saw on TV, probably Loose Women, that he was in the show, and I was already taking my mother. 

‘I thought, ‘Oh, gosh’, and it inspired me to contact him, to see if we could say ‘Hi’ at the end of the show or something like that.

‘I did manage to contact him, and he was delighted to hear from me, and said, ‘Why don’t we have dinner before the show?’, so we did with my mum, my sister and a couple of friends,

‘We had an early dinner, and then he performed, and he came to see us again after the show, bringing flowers for my mum which was lovely.

‘He was touring, so I didn’t see him for about a month more, but then we just went out for dinner again.’ 

Describing how the relationship started, she said: ‘It was pretty much on and off because he was touring with the show for the next few months, so we got together as and when. 

Claire explained that Darius was travelling around a lot while she was at home with her son. She said she decided it was best for them to stay friends and they remained friends

Claire explained that Darius was travelling around a lot while she was at home with her son. She said she decided it was best for them to stay friends and they remained friends 

‘I went to join him on a couple of the shows and then he went to LA, so I didn’t see him for a little while longer, but then I went over to LA. It was a bit hit and miss, and on off, although always with a friendship.’ 

Claire released a string of personal photographs to MailOnline showing them enjoying time together, and even sharing a hot tub in the snow during a ski holiday in Vail, Colorado. 

But she added: ‘Ultimately with his career, and me being at home with my son, it wasn’t ideal because I couldn’t be jumping around going all over the place. Summer was approaching, and obviously I was hoping to spend some time with him, but he had commitments all over the place. 

‘He was doing so much work, and I just decided it was best that we stayed friends. There was no drama or fall out. It just seemed to make sense, and we remained friends. 

‘I wanted to have a partner who could spend more time with me. We must have spent about 18 months together on or off.

Darius was great friends with Claire and John. He spent time with them and sang at the funeral of John's mother

Darius was great friends with Claire and John. He spent time with them and sang at the funeral of John’s mother 

‘So ultimately we stopped seeing each other in a romantic way, but we remained fantastic friends.’ 

Her relationship with Darius led to him forging a even closer friendship with her ex-partner Caudwell who described the singer after his death as ‘a vibrant young man’ who was ‘amazingly kind and amazingly talented’.

Darius even flew back to the UK in April to sing what Caudwell described as a ‘a spine-tingling’ rendition of Hallelujah at the funeral of his mother after she died aged 98. 

Claire said: ‘That was when we last spent time together. He came over especially for the funeral of John’s mum, but he stayed at my home for a few days. 

She insisted that he showed no sign of any personal problems during his visit, saying: ‘He was perfect and spot on. He was just the same him – absolutely perfect.’

Claire even released the last picture of them together, larking around at her home in Staffordshire during his stay in April. 

Claire and Darius at the annual fundraiser for Caudwell Children, at Grosvenor House, London in 2018

Claire and Darius at the annual fundraiser for Caudwell Children, at Grosvenor House, London in 2018

Darius escorted Claire to charity events and parties even when she was alone and single. She described him as a 'perfect gentleman'

Darius escorted Claire to charity events and parties even when she was alone and single. She described him as a ‘perfect gentleman’

Talking of their continuing friendship, she said: ‘Even when I was alone and single, he would escort me to charity events, parties and all sorts as my plus one for the want of a better word. He was always a perfect gentleman.

‘I Face-Timed him last in May. That was the last time I saw his face. He became extremely good friends with John, and did a lot with him and the charity. He was also very good with my son. 

‘John was with me when we first got to know him through the charity. So John knew him anyway, but their friendship deepened as a result of me being with him.

‘John and I are extremely close still and have a very good relationship. I will go to his events and parties. So as a result of me being with Darius, he came along to events and parties that John was having, and they got closer.

‘He came over especially to sing for John’s mum at her funeral. It was amazing of him. All of my friends loved him. He was just an overall wonderful human being.’

Claire said she still had no idea how Darius had died in his apartment hotel room in Rochester, Minnesota, opposite St Mary’s May Clinic Hospital, a care facility specialising in cancer, cardiology and heart surgery.

She said: ‘I am still waiting to hear myself. We haven’t heard any finer detail which I am sure the family will get to now first. I am sure we will find out at some point.’

Claire said she is heartbroken after the death of Darius and paid tribute to him online. She said she loved him dearly

Claire said she is heartbroken after the death of Darius and paid tribute to him online. She said she loved him dearly 

The star was booked into the hotel where he died under the name of his close friend Gerard Butler’s girlfriend, MailOnline revealed – as it emerged the Hollywood star visited him in the days before his death. 

A source at the Berkman apartments told The Sun they saw Butler around ‘a few times’, adding: ‘I think he was supporting his friend’.  

His death, at the age of 41, was announced by his family on Tuesday, but the cause remains unknown and it is unclear if he was being treated at the medical facility in Rochester, Minnesota.

Local police in Rochester said there were ‘no signs of intent or suspicious circumstances’ and are awaiting toxicology results which could take up to two months. 

Among the last people to be pictured with Darius before his death was actor Gerard Butler (pictured right with his friend in Malibu, California on June 11), who had reportedly travelled to Rochester, Minnesota, in recent months

Among the last people to be pictured with Darius before his death was actor Gerard Butler (pictured right with his friend in Malibu, California on June 11), who had reportedly travelled to Rochester, Minnesota, in recent months 

The singer, 41, was found unresponsive in a room inside the Berkman apartments opposite the Mayo Clinic specialist treatment centre in Rochester, Minnesota on August 11. He had checked in using the name of Butler's girlfriend Morgan Brown (pic), a source there said

The singer, 41, was found unresponsive in a room inside the Berkman apartments opposite the Mayo Clinic specialist treatment centre in Rochester, Minnesota on August 11. He had checked in using the name of Butler’s girlfriend Morgan Brown (pic), a source there said

The Berkman, seen last night, is billed as Rochester's 'premier address for elegant short term and long-term furnished suites'

The Berkman, seen last night, is billed as Rochester’s ‘premier address for elegant short term and long-term furnished suites’

It is described as Rochester’s ‘premier address for elegant short-term and long-term furnished suites and residential living’. 

The majority of those who live in the apartment block, which has around 270 long-term rentals and 75 short-term or nightly rentals, either work or are treated at the Mayo Clinic’s Saint Mary’s Campus.

The medical facility, which opened in 1889, has 70 operating rooms, ten intensive care units and 1,265 beds and specialises in cardiac treatment, transplants, psychiatry, neurosurgery and rehabilitation.

A police spokesman said: ‘The investigation into the cause of his death is still pending. There is no known threat to the public.’ 

A heartbreaking police dispatch call revealed the moment the star was found unresponsive in the apartment block.

Rochester Police Department said it responded to a ‘deceased person call’ at 11.53am on August 11 at The Berkman, and the Southern Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner’s Office identified the person as Darius. 

The family of Scots Pop Idol contestant Darius Campbell Danesh could face an agonising two-month wait to find out the cause of his death. Pictured with his ex-wife Natasha Henstridge and her two sons

The family of Scots Pop Idol contestant Darius Campbell Danesh could face an agonising two-month wait to find out the cause of his death. Pictured with his ex-wife Natasha Henstridge and her two sons

The West End star was found unresponsive in a US apartment opposite the Mayo Clinic specialist treatment centre (pictured) on August 11. File image

The West End star was found unresponsive in a US apartment opposite the Mayo Clinic specialist treatment centre (pictured) on August 11. File image

According to reports, a dispatch call was placed when a ‘medical’ team was requested for a ‘possible deceased’ person. 

Another call was allegedly made minutes later from an operator saying: ‘No need for them to respond. We’ll be waiting for RPD [Rochester Police Department] to arrive on the scene. We’ll secure the residence.’ 

Darius was thought to have been just weeks away from a reunion tour with his former Pop Idol co-stars, with sources close to him claiming that he had been hugely ‘excited’ for the homecoming and UK comeback trip.

Stars of the show from across the world, including Queen singer and American Idol winner Adam Lambert, were due to be invited back with Thames TV filming at the Criterion Theatre in London’s West End, reported The Sun.

The family of the Scots Pop Idol contestant could face an agonising two-month wait to find out the cause of his death.

Local police in Rochester said there were ‘no signs of intent or suspicious circumstances’ and are awaiting toxicology results which could take up to two months. 

Darius lived in the US and had been in a relationship with Canadian actress Natasha Henstridge. 

Pop Idol star Darius Campbell Danesh, pictured in May 2018 at The Ivy Chelsea Garden Annual Summer Party in London

Pop Idol star Darius Campbell Danesh, pictured in May 2018 at The Ivy Chelsea Garden Annual Summer Party in London

Darius and Gerard Butler with the celebrity hairdresser Taylor Ferguson

Darius and Gerard Butler with the celebrity hairdresser Taylor Ferguson 

The couple married in 2011 at the San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara, California, but had since divorced. His former wife wrote in a statement yesterday: ‘There are no words Darius… only Love Love Love. Forever Janam.’

A statement from Campbell Danesh’s family read: ‘It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Darius Campbell Danesh.

‘Darius was found unresponsive in bed in his apartment room on August 11 and was pronounced dead in the afternoon by the medical examiners’ office.

‘The local police department have confirmed that there were no signs of intent or suspicious circumstances. The cause of his sudden death is unknown at this stage while medical examinations continue.

‘We ask that you respect our wishes for privacy at this time whilst we come to terms with the tragic loss of our son and brother.’

One of the last pictures of Campbell Danesh in public was on June 11 as he walked a dog with his friend and fellow Scot, the actor Gerard Butler, in Malibu.

He is said to have been weeks away from a reunion tour with his former Pop Idol co-stars which he was hugely ‘excited’ about.

Darius and Natasha Henstridge at a barbecue at The Project Beach House in Malibu, California, on August 9, 2008

Darius and Natasha Henstridge at a barbecue at The Project Beach House in Malibu, California, on August 9, 2008

Tributes poured in from across the entertainment world, with Pete Waterman, who first met Campbell Danesh as a judge on Pop Idol, describing him as ‘the perfect person’.

‘The word gentleman is overused but not in Darius’ case,’ he told Good Morning Britain yesterday.

‘So quiet, so polite, so gentle, I guess he was the perfect person. So gentle. No cross words. He didn’t get angry. Darius wanted to do too much. He had too much talent. Darius could have gone on to be bigger than Michael Bublé.’ 

Simon Cowell, 63, led the tributes to the late singer he first met in 2002 when he finished in third place on Pop Idol. 

The music mogul released a statement honouring the star who passed exactly 20 years after he topped the charts with his critically-acclaimed single Colourblind.

Darius famously turned down a record deal from Cowell but the two have remained friendly over the years and reunited at an X Factor party and recording. 

It was also revealed that the late star recently visited Simon’s home in Malibu for the evening to attend the party and judges’ homes filming.

Cowell told MailOnline: ‘I first saw Darius on television over 20 years ago and I got to know him really well. He was charismatic, funny and just a great person to be with.

‘His passing, for someone so young, is an absolute tragedy and my heart goes out to his family and friends.’ 

Darius’s friend pays tribute to Pop Idol star as she lays flowers at his family home in Glasgow 

A close friend of Darius Campbell-Danesh today paid tribute to the Pop Idol star as she laid flowers at his family home in Glasgow.

Anne Ferguson said she had ‘no words’ to describe her sadness at the Scottish singer and actor’s sudden death.

Her celebrity hairdresser husband Taylor Ferguson had worked with Darius for two decades – and they met again and were pictured together in March this year when Darius visited his Glasgow salon with showbiz friend Gerard Butler.

Anne Ferguson arrives to leave flowers at Darius's family home in Glasgow today

Anne Ferguson arrives to leave flowers at Darius’s family home in Glasgow today

With tears running down her face, Mrs Ferguson told MailOnline today: ‘It’s just so awful. There are no words. I cannot describe how sad I feel.’

Mrs Ferguson told how she first became friends with Darius after her husband cut the young performer’s hair ahead of his first Pop Idol performance.

She said: ‘My husband Taylor cut Darius’ hair just before he went on Pop Idol and we stayed friends ever since.

Anne Ferguson and Darius at a fashion event in London in 2011

Anne Ferguson and Darius at a fashion event in London in 2011

‘His song Colourblind hit number one on the day of our son’s wedding but Darius still found time to come to the wedding.

‘On Thursday we were celebrating our son’s 20th wedding anniversary and we played Darius’ tune again. I cannot believe he died that same day.

‘I send all my love to his mum and dad and his brothers. It’s so sad.’

Mrs Ferguson’s husband Taylor also paid tribute to Darius and told how he was ‘devastated’.

According to the Daily Record, Mr Ferguson said: ‘Devastated at the shocking news of the sudden death of our dearly loved friend Darius. Only 41. Our hearts are broken. We knew Darius from back in his Pop Idol days and he became a family friend.

‘We celebrated our son and daughter-in-law’s 20th wedding anniversary last Thursday. That date coincided with the 20th anniversary of Darius getting his first number one with Colourblind.

‘Indeed Darius came to the wedding and all the guests toasted his chart success – and of course we danced to the track.’


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