Idol David Cook's Family Crisis
By Jennifer Wren
Originally posted Sunday April 06, 2008 02:00 PM EDT
David Cook Photo by: Frank Micelotta / FOX
David Cook quickly bounced back from his brief hospitalization due to high blood
pressure and heart palpitations, but the American Idol finalist is coping with more than
the weekly eliminations.
His older brother Adam Cook is battling cancer, sources confirm. David hasn't spoken
about it, the sources add, out of respect for his brother – and because he didn't want to
seek sympathy votes. But he has performed with an electric guitar emblazoned with his
brother's initials "A.C."
Cook is not the first idol to compete while dealing with a personal crisis.
"The week before we came up for the Top 24, my best friend passed away, and I was just
like, 'I don't know if I can go out there,'" last year's champ Jordin Sparks tells PEOPLE.
"I went to the funeral and came back and then my uncle passed away – and then my
grandma ... and so I had three deaths go on during the show."
The blows tested Sparks physically as well as mentally, she said last week at a
Hollywood PSA shoot for DoSomething.org and Staples School Supply Drive To Do
Something for students who can't afford school supplies.
"It's hard because you have to go out there and put this smile on your face," says the
singer. "It's very exhausting, and it's very overwhelming and kind of gets to you. I mean I
got sick a couple times, just because I was so tired and kept trying to do all this stuff and
it was crazy."
Still, if personal matters were to become very serious, it's possible that Cook would be
allowed time off from the competition to be with his family.
"It's only ever happened once and that was in the U.K.," Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe told
reporters in a conference call. "We gave them a week out."
• Reporting by JED DREBEN, MONICA RIZZO and PAM GROUT