American Idol Alum Nikki McKibbin Dead at 42

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Terrible news. American Idol alum Nikki McKibbin is dead at age 42 after suffering a brain aneurysm on Wednesday. She was kept on life support to facilitate organ donation. The singer, born in Grand Prairie Texas September 28 1978, finished 3rd in American Idol’s inaugural season in 2002 behind Justin Guarini and winner Kelly Clarkson.

Justin Guarini, season 1 runner-up, confirmed the news on his Instagram:

@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

UPDATE: Nikki’s husband Craig Sadler confirmed on Facebook yesterday that Nikki suffered a brain aneurysm on Wednesday and was being kept on life support in order to donate her organs. 

Many of you already know something is wrong. The love of my life Nikki Sadler. suffered an aneurysm on Wednesday. She would already be gone, but she’s an organ donor and has been kept on life support to make that possible. That shouldn’t be a surprise to us. Even at the end she is still giving. She was so loved that I know thousands of you will be grieving with us. There are only a few hours left for me to hold her hand and kiss her forehead. The current Covid situation won’t allow the huge service that she deserves, but I would like to offer you the opportunity to honor her. She will be taken to the OR at 3:00 am Central time to give her final gift that will save the lives of strangers. You probably know she practically worshiped Stevie Nicks. Before they begin, they will play Landslide for her one last time. If you are able, you can pause at 3:00 wherever you are and listen to it with her. She will know that you’re sharing her farewell. She loved so many of you and I know you loved her too.

Nikki’s first foray into reality TV won on the WB competition, Popstars in 2001. But it was American Idol that made her a celebrity. Her  cover of Alannah Myles “Black Velvet” for the Top 3 round, was her best remembered performance on Idol. But she also covered Stevie Nicks, Alanis Morissette, Melissa Etheridge, Janis Joplin, Bonnie Tyler and more on the show. 

American Idol came full circle when Nikki’s 15 year old son, Tristan Langley, auditioned for the show in 2014. He advanced but got cut in Hollywood.

In 2008, Nikki appeared on the VH1 reality show, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, where she received treatment for cocaine and alcohol addiction. Her move to a sober living house was chronicalled in Celebrity Rehab spinoff, Sober House

Additionally, Nikki appeared on Fear Factor and Bravo’s Battle of the Network Reality Stars

After American Idol, Nikki was signed to RCA and 19 Records. They wanted her to go country, but she refused and an album never materialized. Eventually, she released a rock album, Unleashed, in 2007.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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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

According to Nikki’s Instagram page, which she last updated in September 2019,  In 2014 a granddaughter was born to her second husband Craig’s daughter. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Forgot to post this lol #nanasbaby

A post shared by Nikki Sadler (@realnikkimckibbin) on

In 2016, Nikki also raised money through Go Fund Me to help defray the medical costs of six back surgeries.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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11 Days till my last surgery or so they tell me

A post shared by Nikki Sadler (@realnikkimckibbin) on

Nikki McKibbin performs Black Velvet American Idol season 1 Top 3

Here’s Nikki’ Sallas Audition, One Moment in Time

Nikki McKibbin sings Stevie Nick’s Edge of Seventeen

Nikki’s son Tritan Langley Auditions for American Idol season 13

Tristan made it past the auditions, but got cut in Hollywood. Judge Harry Connick Jr. said No.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Nikki Sadler (@realnikkimckibbin) on

About mj santilli 32489 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!