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Clay Aiken, Keith Crisco

Getty Images, AP

This obviously isn't the way Clay Aiken wanted to make it to the general election.

Keith Crisco, Aiken's opponent in the Democratic primary for one of North Carolina's congressional seats, died Monday of injuries reportedly suffered in a fall at his home. He was 71.

According to the Asheboro Courier-Tribune, Crisco was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency respondents.

Voters went to the polls last week, but the race was considered too close to call. Aiken was said to be 369 votes ahead, but both candidates were awaiting word from the official canvass tomorrow, before mapping their next move.

Aiken immediately took to Twitter this evening to pay his respect.

"I am stunned and deeply saddened by Keith Crisco's death," the former American Idol runner-up tweeted from his campaign account. "He was a gentleman, a good and honorable man and an extraordinary public servant. I am suspending all campaign activities as we pray for his family and friends."

He added from his personal account: "Keith was a true gentleman. His legacy will be one of great service to the people of NC. I was honored to know him."