Update, 5:03 PM: Former U.S. American Idol judge Simon Cowell took to Twitter to express his condolences about Michael Johns’ passing.

Previous, 4:04 PM: Fox, FremantleMedia North America, 19 Entertainment and the American Idol team responded to today’s shocking news about the death of contestant Michael Johns at 35, by saying in a statement, “Michael Johns was an incredible talent and we are deeply saddened by the news of his passing.  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”.  Johns’ family also had this to say, “Our family is devastated by the passing of our beloved Michael, a wonderful husband, son, brother, uncle, and friend. We appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from all corners of the globe. Please keep Michael in your thoughts and respect our need to grieve privately in this difficult time.”

Previous, 1:35 PM: Various sources are confirming that American Idol contestant Michael Johns from season 7 has died from a blood clot in his ankle.  He was 35.  Johns apparently saw a doctor on Thursday and complained of bruising and swelling in his leg, but was later sent home per TMZ.  The next afternoon, Johns was found unresponsive in his friend’s apartment.  The Twitter for his fan site, @Sedoz tweeted, “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.”

Johns, an Australian native, grew up as Michael Lee and lived in the Buckhead, GA area from 1998 to 2002 ,playing frequently at such area hotspots as CJ’s Landing and Tin Roof Cantina. Johns competed on Idol in 2008 and followed his stint up with the 2009 album Hold Back My Heart which included the single “Heart on My Sleeve”.  Another single, “Day Breaks Sun,” was released in February.  One of Johns’ last tweets about another single he was working on, posted July 10:

Idol judge Simon Cowell remarked during Johns’ audition that he was a “white soul singer”. Take a look at Johns’ cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” which received thumbs up from Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson.