updated 05/03/2009 AT 9:00 PM ET
•originally published 05/03/2009 AT 10:45 PM ET
In the American Idol world, the death of current champ David Cook’s brother Adam was felt immediately.
Paula Abdul expressed her sympathy in an exclusive statement to PEOPLE: “Adam Cook was a part of our extended American Idol family who supported his brother wholeheartedly, even through his own fight. My heart goes out not only to David, but his family as well.”
Adam Cook, 37, had battled cancer for more than a decade, including throughout Cook’s bid for the American Idol crown last year. The Terre Haute, Ind., lawyer had even flown out to L.A. amid chemotherapy treatment to see his brother, 26, take the Idol stage.
It was a commitment that didn’t go unnoticed by the judges. Simon Cowell, too, offered his condolences. “I was incredibly saddened to hear the news,” he said in a statement to PEOPLE. “I met Adam Cook a few times at American Idol. He was an incredible guy, and right now my thoughts are with David and his family.”
– Shawna Malcom and Monica Rizzo