Former American Idol judge Simon Cowell paid tribute on Twitter, calling him "a truly great guy". According to TMZ, the Australian-born singer saw a doctor on Thursday complaining of pain and swelling in his leg after twisting his ankle and was later sent home. He was found unresponsive at a friend's apartment on Friday and was pronounced dead at the scene. "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," Fox said. Johns' family added it was "devastated by the passing of our beloved Michael, a wonderful husband, son, brother, uncle, and friend". Rita Wilson tweeted she was "shocked and sad" at the news of Johns' death Described by Cowell as a "white soul singer", Johns created a stir during his time on the show in 2008 because he had been signed to a major label, Maverick, prior to auditioning. After Idol he released an album, Hold Back My Heart, in 2009 and participated in a lot of charity work with former executive producer Nigel Lythgoe. "He was a great talent and dear friend. My boys and I were devastated to hear the news," Lythgoe said. Actress Rita Wilson, who performed with Johns at a Muhammad Ali fundraiser, also tweeted: "I'm so shocked and sad to hear my friend @michael_johns has passed away. A lovely man, a great voice, a beautiful wife, Stacy. Rest in peace." Paula Abdul, who also served as a judge on the show when Johns competed, said: "I'm so torn up over the news about Michael Johns.