Clay Aiken ‘Deeply Saddened’ By Death Of Congressional Opponent

71-year-old Keith Crisco died in his North Carolina home on Monday (May 12).

Keith Crisco, Clay Aiken’s chief opponent in the Democratic Congressional race in North Carolina, died on Monday (May 12) at the age of 71.

According to The Courier-Tribune, Crisco, who was formerly the state’s secretary of commerce, died suddenly in his home in Asheboro after a fall. He was in a tight race with “American Idol” veteran to represent North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional district in the House of Representatives.

“I am stunned and deeply saddened by Keith Crisco’s death. He was a gentleman, a good and honorable man and an extraordinary public servant,” Aiken announced on Twitter. He also announced that he is suspending all his campaign activities in light of the news.

He was reportedly a mere 369 points behind the “Invisible” singer in a primary battle. Final results were expected later this week.

Joshua Lawson, spokesman for North Carolina’s Board of Elections, told ABC News that his death does not influence vote certification process. According to Lawson, if Crisco comes out on top over Aiken, then the district executive committee of the Democratic Party will choose the nominee.

Crisco is survived by his wife, Jane, and three children and six grandchildren.