“Australian Idol” judge Jay Dee Springbett was found dead at his home in Sydney on Thursday. He was 36.
He was discovered after friends called authorities when they couldn’t contact the former “Idol” judge. He was already dead when authorities arrived at his Woolloomooloo apartment, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. As of press time, nothing else was known about the cause of death, although authorities believe nothing suspicious happened.
The U.K. native moved to Australia in 2004. He worked for Sony Music and joined “Idol” down under during the show’s final season in 2009, replacing Kyle Sandilands. He was known as the show’s resident “nice guy” judge. That year, Stan Walker was crowned the champ and later went on to become a successful artist in Australia and New Zealand.
The show aired on Network Ten in Australia, and a spokesperson for the network released this statement: “Our heartfelt condolences go out to Jay Dee’s family at this very difficult time. Jay Dee was an asset to the final season of ‘Australian Idol,’ [and] we feel honored to have worked with him.”
As a record executive, Springbett helped shape the careers of artists including Guy Sebastian, Human Nature, Rogue Traders and Natalie Bassingthwaighte. “Jay Dee was so very enthusiastic and passionate about his family, his music projects and his plans for the future,” Sony Music Entertainment Australian and New Zealand CEO Denis Handlin said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “[He] was a great friend and larger-than-life charismatic character who will be missed enormously.”
Fremantle, which produces the “Idol” shows, also expressed condolences in a statement. “The ‘Australian Idol’ family is deeply saddened by the passing of Jay Dee,” the statement reads. “Our thoughts are with his family and all at Sony Music.”