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In Memoriam|

Michael Johns, the Australian blue-eyed soul crooner of American Idol Season 7, has died at age 35. While the singer’s family has not yet issued an official cause-of-death statement, sources have told The Hollywood Reporter it was a blood clot in his ankle. Johns is the first Idol top 10 finalist to pass away in the show’s 13-season history.

“It is with a heavy heart and inconsolable sadness that we confirm the passing of our friend Michael Johns. No other details will b avail at this time. Please respect the privacy of Mike’s family and friends as we know u will. Members and admin of @mjohnsonline pass on their prayers,” the administrator for Johns’s website tweeted Saturday, confirming the tragic news.

Johns was born in Perth, Australia, in 1978, and he moved to the States in 1997. There, he fronted the rock bands Film and the Rising, the latter of which signed to Madonna’s Maverick Records in 2002. After that deal, and a second solo deal with Columbia, fell through, Johns tried out for American Idol in July 2007, when he was 28, and he made the show’s top 10 the following year.

From the start of his Idol run, the charismatic Johns was one of the standouts and heartthrobs of Season 7, wowing fans with his soulful covers of Fleetwood Mac, Beatles, and Dolly Parton songs and his resemblance to rock icons like Jim Morrison and Michael Hutchence. Even in a competitive season featuring the likes of David Cook, David Archuleta, Jason Castro, Brooke White, and Carly Smithson, many viewers thought Johns had a good chance to win the show.

When Johns was cut from the competition in eighth place — very cruelly, during “Idol Gives Back” week — it was a shock, and his elimination was often cited by the show’s producers as a reason to instate the “Judges’ Save” just one season later.

Johns continued to record and perform, releasing his post-Idol effort Hold Back My Heart in 2009 and dueting with fellow Season 7 finalist Brooke White on her album, High Hopes & Heartbreak. In one of his final tweets, Johns expressed excitement over working on new music in the studio.

Michael Johns: July 10, 2014: Headed to the studio to work on new song called ‘Reckless’ been waiting a long time for this one

John is survived by his wife since 2007, Stacey Vuduris. With the news just breaking, Johns’s Facebook page is being flooded with memories from fans. The singer’s website, http://michaeljohnsonline.com, appears to be down, as of this writing. A few members of the Idol community have already taken to Twitter to express their grief.

By Lyndsey Parker | Reality Rocks

https://celebrity.yahoo.com/news/michael-johns-former-american-idol-finalist-dead-35-201800963.html

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STANLEY THOMAS WRIGHT, RACHAEL BERTRAND’S BROTHER, DIES

North Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) — The City of North Las Vegas Fire Department responded to 5095 EL Campo Grande Avenue early for a reported person down in a railcar tanker.

The call came in at about 1:00 a.m. on Saturday.

Upon arrival, crews found a tanker car on a railroad track with the top hatch of the vehicle open.

The witnesses stated that their co-worker lost consciousness inside the tanker and was not able to climb out.

Firefighter crews assessed the tanker and found the atmosphere inside the empty tanker, which had highly volatile ethanol vapors to be extremely unsafe.

The area was immediately secured and a number of resources throughout the community were dispatched to help mitigate the event and recovery the worker who was deceased.

The coroner has identified the victim as 47-year-old Stanley Thomas Wright of Las Vegas.

The incident continues to be under investigation by OSHA.

http://www.jrn.com/ktnv/news/Worker-dies-on-the-job-after-railcar-tanker-incident-269701871.html

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SECURITY GUARD MAY HAVE BEEN JUSTIFIED IN SHOOTING WESTMINSTER MAN

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – The security guard who shot and killed a Westminster man this weekend may have been justified, police said Monday, because the victim pointed a pellet gun that looked like a real gun at the guard.

“This airsoft gun, in particular, had the orange cap removed. But even then, in the heat of the moment in darkness, it’s hard to tell. They really look like real guns,” Westminster police spokeswoman Cheri Spottke said.

Family members said David Ludewig, 24, was celebrating news his wife was pregnant with their first child. He was drunk, they said, when the guard confronted him for allegedly urinating on a trash bin outside his apartment at 8300 North Sheridan Boulevard at approximately 1:30 a.m. on Saturday.

After the confrontation, police said, Ludewig returned to his home to fetch the weapon. Then, according to police, witnesses said the guard retreated after Ludewig pointed the weapon at him. The guard then fired.

Spottke said the guard, whose name hasn’t been released, works for Pentagon Protective Service and is licensed to carry a gun in the city.

“I don’t think he probably would have chosen to fire his weapon had he not thought there was a direct threat to his life,” she said.

Ludewig’s cousin, Johnny Secrest, witnessed the confrontation and said that many residents complained about the guard. But he said his cousin made a mistake.

“Nobody please pull a pellet gun out,” he said. “It is the wrong thing to do.”

Monday’s statement from police is the first indication they believe the guard may not have been at fault. Earlier, Spottke said in a statement: “The Westminster police would like to remind everyone it is difficult to differentiate between an airsoft gun and a real gun. This is an ongoing investigation and the case will be presented to the district attorney’s office later in the week.”

Ludewig’s family has planned a celebration of his life and benefit for his unborn child at Herman’s Hideaway in Denver on Sept. 25 from 7 p.m. to midnight.

http://denver.cbslocal.com/2014/08/05/security-guard-shooting-westminster-police/

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MUSICIAN JAKE HOOKER, 62, DIES – CO-WRITER OF “I LOVE ROCK ‘N ROLL”

Jerry Mamberg (May 3, 1952 – August 4, 2014), better known as Jake Hooker, was a musician, best known as the guitarist for the rock/pop band Arrows, and a successful songwriter.

Hooker was born in Haifa, Israel, but his family moved to the United States when he was a child. Hooker himself moved to England in the 1970s. Hooker recruited his friend Alan Merrill, already a star in Japan, to found the band Streak in 1972, which evolved into the Arrows. The band had several hit records produced by Mickie Most. Hooker and Merrill collaborated to write the song “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” for the Arrows, a response to The Rolling Stones’ “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)”. The song, recorded in 1975 and originally relegated by Most to a b-side, has gone on to become a rock classic. The Arrows broke ground by hosting their own weekly TV series Arrows on the UK Granada ITV network, which showcased many top glam rock acts.

Hooker married actress/singer Lorna Luft [daughter of Judy Garland; half-sister of Liza Minelli] in London on Valentine’s Day 1977. Hooker retired as a musician in 1978 when the Arrows disbanded, moving to Los Angeles to manage Luft. Their marriage ended in divorce following which, he continued to reside in Los Angeles, working as a publisher, producer, manager, and entrepreneur, until his death.

According to his website Hooker’s songs have sold well over a 100 million records, equivalent to $1.6 Billion in retail sales.

Hooker died in Malibu on August 4, 2014.

Hooker and Luft were divorced in 1993. They have two children together, a son Jesse (b. April 1984) and a daughter Vanessa (b. September 1990).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jake_Hooker

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Other Notable Musicians’ Deaths…

August 2014

4: Jake Hooker, 61, Israeli-born American pop musician (Arrows), songwriter (“I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”) and producer; Rafael Santa Cruz, 53, Peruvian cajon musician and actor, heart attack;  Richie Taylor, 61, Irish rock music journalist and musician, complications from a stroke.

3: Kenny Drew, Jr., 56, American jazz pianist and composer.

2: Olga Voronets, 88, Russian mezzo-soprano folk singer.

1: Rod de’Ath, 64, Welsh drummer (Rory Gallagher); Michael Johns, 35, Australian singer-songwriter (American Idol), blood clot.

July 2014

31: Murat Gög(ebakan(tr), 45, Turkish rock singer, heart attack; Velma Smith, 87, American Hall of Fame country guitarist.

30: Robert Halmi, Sr., 90, Hungarian-born American Emmy Award-winning producer, founder of Sonar Entertainment, brain aneurism; Dick Wagner, 71, American rock guitarist (The Frost, Alice Cooper, Lou Reed) and songwriter (Only Women Bleed), lung infection following heart surgery.

From http://www.wikipedia.com

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