‘American Idol’ Winner Heartbroken Over Family Tragedy

Accident scene

Heavy/Getty Former "American Idol" winner Nick Fradiani is in mourning following a fatal accident.

Season 14 “American Idol” winner Nick Fradiani is trying to come to grips with a tragic loss in his family, telling fans the amount of pain he’s feeling “is something I’ve never experienced.”

Fradiani’s cousin, 39-year-old Dean Fradiani, died in a motorcycle crash on May 7, 2023, according to WTNH-TV. The Connecticut news station said he was involved in a two-vehicle crash in the town of Wolcott, near New Haven, and was pronounced dead at the scene. NBC Connecticut reported that three people in the other vehicle, a Jeep, were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

In an emotional tribute posted on Instagram and Facebook the next day, 37-year-old Fradiani wrote, “This is a tragedy and it’s hard for me to see it any other way.”

Nick Fradiani Says His Cousin Always Defended and Supported Him

Ryan Seacrest, Nick Fradiani

GettyRyan Seacrest and Nick Fradiani during the 2015 “American Idol” finale

In the social media post, which included multiple photos of him and his cousin together through the years, Fradiani revealed how close they were and how hard he’s taking the news of his sudden death.

“I don’t want to do this because then this becomes real,” Fradiani wrote. “We grew up together at Grandma’s. You were Baby Dean even though you towered over all of us and could lift a truck. You were a gentle giant.”

He continued, “It seemed like everyone had a soft spot for you. You hit a home run off me in little league, defended me in my first ever ‘fight’ as a kid (which you ended in seconds) and had an infectious laugh that I’ll always remember. You supported me every step of the way in my life. You were always there.”

‘The pain I’m feeling is something I’ve never experienced,” Fradiani wrote. “This is a tragedy and it’s hard for me to see it any other way. I’ll always remember you. I’ll always talk about you. You’re with your Dad and Grandma now, but our family will never be the same. I love you cuz.”

Midday on Monday, Fradiani posted a black and white photo in his Instagram Stories of him and his cousin, who was wearing a Harley-Davidson shirt, and an unidentified woman. Over the photo, Fradiani wrote, “Last time with you. Love you Dean.”

Fradiani’s dad, Nick Fradiani Sr., wrote his own post on Facebook, which read, “I am still trying to process the TRAGIC loss of my nephew and son of my late brother … Dean Fradiani . Our family is in shock and I am devastated beyond belief to know he is now gone from us all . I loved him so much .”

A GoFundMe campaign has been started by a friend and shared on Facebook by the family to help cover burial expenses. At the time of publication, over $8,000 had been raised toward the fund’s $15,000 goal.

Nick Fradiani Made His Broadway Debut in December 2022

Before the death of his beloved cousin, Fradiani had been enjoying a new level of success. Over the last several months, Fradiani has made his Broadway debut and released his first new music in years.

The singer-songwriter, who grew up listening to Neil Diamond music and was a big fan, was cast in December 2022 as the alternate in the Broadway hit “A Beautiful Noise,” about the icon’s life. Fradiani plays the role of Diamond every Wednesday, he recently confirmed on Twitter.

“It is kind of a crazy story,” he told WTNH. “Yes, my first-ever concert was Neil Diamond.”

In the years since his run on “Idol,” he told Broadway World, he’s recorded and released music and traveled the world performing. But in 2019, he tried something new, making his musical debut in the national tour of “A Bronx Tale.”

“If you told me I’d be in a musical seven years ago I would have never ever believed you,” he told the site. “I had no background in it, no understanding of it, and I feel like I’ve kind of been thrown into this crash course since 2019 when I did my first musical.”

Fradiani met his girlfriend on tour, he said, and they wound up quarantining together for the early months of the COVID pandemic, during which he immersed himself in all he could learn about musical theater, admitting he became “obsessed with it.”

After landing the role on Broadway, moving to New York, and taking his first bow on his debut night, Fradiani told Broadway World, it felt like a huge moment.

“I almost teared up because I have had a very up and down career since ‘Idol,'” he said. “I’ve been working my butt off for over a decade in the music business, and to move, and keep battling into doing whatever I can to perform, which is what I love, to end up on a Broadway stage was pretty mind-blowing. There are really no words for it, it’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime feeling.”

Though the road since “Idol” has not always been smooth for Fradiani, including losing the initial record deal he earned as part of the win, he is still grateful for the experience. In an Instagram post on January 26, he shared a video from his hometown visit on the show and how it feels to watch it years later.

“This popped up on my YouTube today and I found myself happy crying on my couch,” he wrote. “What a crazy time this was. I’m so blessed that 7 years later I’m still able to do what I love and play music for a living.”

In November 2022, Fradiani also released his second solo album since “Idol,” called “Past My Past.”

It is not known yet whether Fradiani will miss any of his “A Beautiful Noise” performances due to his cousin’s death. The family has not yet announced funeral arrangements.