Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul
Steve Granitz/WireImage; Fitzroy Barrett /Landov
judges Simon Cowell
and Paula Abdul
are sending their condolences to onetime contestant Jennifer Hudson
after the singer's mother, brother and nephew were all found dead.
"This is a horrific tragedy and my thoughts and prayers go out to Jennifer and her entire family," Abdul said Monday evening after news broke that police had identified the body
of Hudson's missing 7-year-old nephew, Julian King.
The boy was found in the back of an SUV three days after Hudson's mother and brother were fatally shot
in the mother's Chicago home.
"The time I had to get to know Jennifer and forge a wonderful friendship with her while she was on Idol
was very special to me, and I personally can't imagine a greater loss for any family."
Hudson, 27, got her start on American Idol
before going on to win an Oscar for her role in Dreamgirls
Cowell also sent a heartfelt message to Hudson, tells Extra
, "I was horrified when I heard the news. This is an appalling tragedy. My thoughts right now are with Jennifer, and her family."
Read about more murder cases that shocked the nation on the covers of PEOPLE