We were already shocked to hear of Clay Aiken’s political ambitions back when he announced his run for Congress, and now we’re hearing his opponent in the Democratic primary has died!

Keith Crisco has unexpectedly passed away, according to both a Democratic source and a company he co-founded via CNN. The 71-year-old was reportedly at home in Asheboro, North Carolina, when he fell down a flight of stairs while preparing to leave his house. The Courier-Tribune of Asheboro reports he was confirmed dead at the scene.

Clay and Keith had been locked in a tough runoff for North Carolina’s 2nd district spot in the U.S. House of Representatives. With votes coming in last week, a winner had still not been decided as of publishing.

The American Idol winner, who placed second in Season 2, was roughly 300 votes ahead of Keith at the last count. Keith was reportedly waiting for the final voting tally before deciding if he would request a recount. The winner of the race faces Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers later this year.

Keith’s Twitter page, @Crisco4Congress, appears to have been taken down as has the official website Crisco for Congress.

Clay tweeted following the news: “I am stunned and deeply saddened by Keith Crisco’s death. He was a gentleman, a good and honorable man and an extraordinary public servant,” he wrote, adding,“I am suspending all campaign activities as we pray for his family and friends.”

Sources: CNNThe Courier-Tribune, WTVD, Clay Aiken on Twitter

Elisabeth Kramer is an Assistant Editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident Downton Abbey expert. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!