Friends Remember Michael Johns: 'There Were So Many People Who Loved Him'
As fans mourn the death of American Idol finalist Michael Johns, his loved ones are coming together to remember the charismatic musician.
Johns, 35, died suddenly Friday from a blood clot in his ankle. Sources say a memorial will likely be held in the United States, though friend Kevin Haaland tells PEOPLE everything is “still up in the air,” as the singer’s family travels from his native Australia to be by the side of his wife, Stacey.
“I don’t think anything has been concrete yet,” Haaland says of funeral plans. “I’m sure something like that will go on. I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t. There were so many people who loved him.”
Season 13 champ Caleb Johnson, who says he admired and “looked up” to Johns before he landed on the reality show himself, dedicated a tour stop to him over the weekend. The two met at a movie theater in Los Angeles a couple months ago, when Johns warmly complimented the newly minted winner, Johnson says.
“That was just a magical moment,” he tells PEOPLE of honoring Johns at the Idol concert. “You got that feeling and that warmth, and the audience was great with it. It was just a really powerful moment. My thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family, because I know this just has to be a shock, and it’s a tragedy.”
Haaland says Johns touched the hearts of everyone he met.
“He was a special guy for sure,” Haaland says. “Outside of the crazy voice and musical talent that he had, he was also just genuinely one of the funniest people to ever walk [the Earth]. He loved to laugh and to make other people laugh, and people just wanted to be his friend.”
Haaland also tells PEOPLE that the duo were in the midst of recording new songs together – unfinished tracks that he may never release.
“I really don’t know at this point,” he says. “I haven’t been able to bring myself to listen to him sing yet.”
• Reporting by PATRICK GOMEZ and ELIZABETH LEONARD