The administrator of Johns' fan site shared the news on Saturday: "It is with a heavy heart and inconsolable sadness that we confirm the passing of our friend Michael Johns. No other details will [be available] at this time. Please respect the privacy of Mike's family and friends as we know [you] will."
Though no cause of death has been released, multiple sources tell The Hollywood Reporter it was a blood clot in Johns' ankle.
The Australian singer-songwriter competed on the long-running Fox reality show in 2008, making it to the Top 8. During his tenure on Idol, he was the subject of a minor controversy because he'd been signed to a major music label, Maverick, and recorded an album before he auditioned for the show. Following his elimination, Johns released the full-length album Hold Back My Heart in 2009, which included the single "Heart on My Sleeve." He released the single "Day Breaks Sun" in February of this year.
American Idol and Fox released a joint statement with FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment via the show's Facebook page. "Michael Johns was an incredible talent and we are deeply saddened by the news of his passing," it reads. "He was a part of our American Idol family and he will be truly missed. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time."
As news of his death spread this weekend, Johns' former American Idol colleagues also paid tribute to him on social media.
Former judge Paula Abdul, who covered her mouth in shock on the night Johns was unexpectedly eliminated from American Idol, also weighed in. "I'm heartbroken over the loss of @michael_johns," she tweeted. "His enormous talent, gigantic heart & infectious personality will live in my heart forever."
Johns is survived by his wife Stacey Vuduris. See a video of him talking about his run on American Idol below: