Keith Crisco, Primary Opponent of Clay Aiken, Found Dead

North Carolina congressional candidate Keith Crisco.
North Carolina congressional candidate Keith Crisco.
Roberto Willett/AP

Emergency responders found North Carolina congressional candidate Keith Crisco dead in his home Monday. Crisco was involved in a high-profile primary race against former American Idol contestant Clay Aiken.

Early reports indicate Crisco fell in his home early Monday afternoon, according to the Asheboro Courier-Tribune.

Information is incomplete; however, early information indicates he suffered injuries from a fall around 1 p.m. at his home at 1263 Thayer Drive in Asheboro. He was reported dead at the scene when emergency workers arrived there.

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The 71-year-old businessman trailed Aiken by 369 votes after a close May 7 primary against Aiken, according to the Courier-Tribune. Aiken released a statement offering condolences to the Crisco family, according to North Carolina station WGHP.

"I am stunned and deeply saddened by Keith Crisco's death," Aiken said on Monday. "He was a gentleman, a good and honorable man and an extraordinary public servant. I was honored to know him."

Aiken added, "I am suspending all campaign activities as we pray for his family and friends."

Crisco was an accomplished Democrat within the state, having served as business recruiter for former Governor Beverly Perdue, according to the Associated Press. Aiken, meanwhile, gained fame during his second-place run on American Idol. Aiken finished second years later on “Celebrity Apprentice.”

The winner of the primary was set to face Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers, who won the seat in 2010.