Sharon Leming, the mother of "American Idol" contestant Josiah Leming, died Tuesday after a lengthy battle with cancer. She was 41.
Leming's death was reported on "Idol" fan site Rickey.org, and was subsequently confirmed by The Citizen Tribune, the newspaper in the Lemings' hometown of Morristown, Tennessee. She was diagnosed with ovarian leiomyosarcoma in 2000, and her struggle with the disease was well-documented by "Idol" producers during season seven of the show, when Josiah made it to Hollywood Week but was eliminated after a solo performance of Ben E. King's "Stand by Me."
Soon after Josiah was booted from "Idol," MTV News traveled to Morristown, where we visited Leming at his home and met his eight brothers and sisters and his mother. During our interview, Josiah told us that it was Sharon who got him started with music, giving him a keyboard for Christmas when he was eight.
"I was just so intrigued by it. Unbelievably intrigued," Leming said. "So I got up really early in the morning and just started playing 'Joy to the World,' and my mom was like, 'Josiah, is that you?' "
Though he failed to make the Top 24, Leming was one of the show's most popular contestants, and in March 2008 he signed a deal with Warner Bros. Records (In October, he released his debut EP, Angels Undercover, on which he sang about Sharon's battle with the disease.
Sharon Leming kept a blog that documented her condition and her lengthy struggle with leiomyosarcoma. By her own count, she underwent "17 surgeries, 55 radiation treatments, 6 cycles of Gemzar/Taxotere, 1 cycle of AIM, 3 cycles of Adriamycin and 6 cycles of Yondelis" to cure the cancer.
The last entry in her blog was dated Monday, June 15:
"Dear Friends, A short post to let you know that Sharon was admitted to ICU at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, TN on Sunday, June 14. Please pray! Thanks!"
A spokesperson for Josiah Leming's label, Warner Bros., could not be reached for comment on the situation.