Keith Crisco, a businessman who competed in Democratic primary against Clay Aiken in North Carolina, has passed away. According to a statement released by his family, Crisco passed away at the age of 71 on Monday, May 12 following an accidental fall at his home in Asheboro, N.C.
Aiken and Crisco were locked in a tight battle in the Tuesday, May 6 election. As reported by New York Daily News, both of them garnered about 40 percent of vote by Monday, but Aiken was ahead with 369 votes.
State elections board spokesman Josh Lawson said that if Crisco ended up gaining the most vote, a new nominee would be selected by local Democrats, The Associated Press reports. The winner will challenge incumbent Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers for the seat in the 2nd Congressional District.
Aiken has released a statement upon learning of the textile enterpreneur's passing, saying that he would suspend his campaign activities. "I am stunned and deeply saddened by Keith Crisco's death. Keith came from humble beginnings. No matter how high he rose - to Harvard, to the White House and to the Governor's Cabinet - he never forgot where he came from," the statement read.
In the statement, the former "American Idol" singer remembered Crisco as "a gentleman, a good and honorable man and an extraordinary public servant." He added, "I am suspending all campaign activities as we pray for his family and friends."
Ellmers also has released a statement following Crisco's death. "I am deeply saddened by this sudden and painful tragedy and wish God's blessings for Keith's family through the coming days. His kindness and dedication to his principles were models we should all strive toward, and he will be dearly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with Keith's family, friends and loved ones during this difficult time," read the statement.