Some of the biggest names in music, including many “American Idol” alums, are mourning the sudden death of renowned drummer Aaron Spears, who worked with stars including Carrie Underwood, Adam Lambert, and Jordin Sparks. His family announced his death on October 30, 2023 — four days after his 47th birthday.
A highly sought-after drummer for recording sessions and tours, per Modern Drummer magazine, Spears played with major stars from Ariana Grande to Justin Bieber. He also toured with contestants from past seasons of “American Idol,” back when the show would send finalists out on a concert tour. Many of those “Idol” alums are posting tributes and memories of their time on the road with Spears.
‘Idol’ Finalists Remember ‘Funk Machine’ Aaron Spears
As news of Spears’ death spread, multiple “Idol” alums posted tributes to the drummer, who had a nine-year-old son with his wife, Jessica.
Casey Abrams, who placed sixth on the 10th season of “American Idol,” shared two videos on Instagram of Spears. One video showed Spears joking around with him on a flight to the Philippines with the “American Idol” tour in 2011.
“RIP Aaron Spears,” Abrams wrote. “It was great jamming with you on my first ever tour with a seasoned vet like yourself. Not only were you a funk machine but a sweet and funny soul. You will be missed. Much love, brother.”
She wrote, “So grateful for these memories with Aaron and all together 💞”
Season 10 finalist Pia Toscano posted a photo of Spears in her Instagram Stories and wrote, “All the losses these days are too hard to bare. Was blessed to tour with this sweetheart after American Idol. A kind heart & lovely human being. My condolences go out to his family & friends”
Season 6 runner-up Blake Lewis shared a photo of Spears in his Instagram Stories and wrote, “Rip my friend @aspears. So many stages & laughs together. I will never forget all the fun we had together, legend.”
Stars Send Love to Aaron Spears’ Family Amid Announcement of His Death
Spears’ wife Jessica announced the drummer’s death in an Instagram message from her and their son, but did not give a cause of death.
“It is with a heavy heart and overwhelming sadness that I share the news of the passing of my beloved husband, Aaron Spears,” she wrote. “Aaron was not only an incredibly accomplished drummer, admired by many for his unparalleled talent and passion for music, but he was also a devoted father to our precious son, August.”
Danny Gokey, who took third place during season 9 of “Idol,” wrote, “He was our drummer on the American Idol tour 2009. Sweetest and kindest guy to work with. 😭”
Longtime “American Idol” backup singer Felicia Barton wrote, “Sending love and prayers to the family 💔”
India Carney, a backup singer for “American Idol” judge Katy Perry and a vocal coach on the show, wrote, “Oh my goodness! We miss you, Aaron. Thank you for the kindness and support you’ve shown me in the times I’ve gotten to work with you. Even before I met you in person, I knew you radiated positivity. Sending my love and condolences to your family. 💐”
Other music stars also expressed their shock and sadness over Spears’ death.
Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker replied to Jessica’s announcement by writing, “I have no words. I love you so much my brother and will miss you. This doesn’t seem real. Praying for you Jessica and August 💔🙏”
Grande wrote, “heartbroken. my condolences to you all. i love you guys and i am sorry. my heart is with you.”
According to the New York Times, Spears received a Grammy nomination in 2004 as a producer on Usher’s album “Confessions,” which sold more than 15 million copies worldwide.