American Idol finalist Rickey Smith dies aged 36

hellomagazine.com

American Idol season two finalist Rickey Smith was tragically killed in a multi-car accident in Oklahoma on Friday. Local authorities told E! News that Rickey, 36, died when a 27-year-old male driver drove his pickup truck the wrong way down a highway and crashed into his vehicle. Rickey died at the scene.

The other driver, meanwhile, was treated at a local hospital and then released into police custody. Patrol troopers believe that he may have been under the influence of alcohol when the accident took place.

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Rickey Smith has been tragically killed in a car accident

Rickey came eighth in the 2003 series of American Idol. Following the news of his death, fellow competitors Ruben Studdard, who won the show, and runner-up Clay Aiken, took to social media to pay tribute to their late friend.

"As I sit here in utter disbelief about the fact that you went to be with the Lord...I think back on all the fun times we had," Ruben wrote. "How we set up for hours in our room in the Idol mansion talking and listening to music. How much fun we all had on our very first tour."

"You were the heart of our season and the true definition of a real friend," he added. "I will miss you my Friend RIP Ricky Smith. I'm sure you're in heaven singing your heart out!!!"

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Rickey came eighth in the 2003 series of American Idol

Clay, meanwhile, wrote: "Suffice it to say my heart is truly breaking today. Heaven's choir has a new beautiful voice. I love you and will miss you, Rickey."

Rickey is one of several American Idol alumni who lost their lives over the past few years. Season seven finalists Michael Johns and Joanne Borgella both passed away in 2014, while season eight contestant Alexis Cohen died after being struck by a car in 2009.