The mother and brother of American Idol star turned Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson have been found shot dead at their home in Chicago.

The bodies of Darnell Donerson, 57, and 29-year-old Jason Hudson were found at the house on Friday afternoon, while a search is being carried out for Hudson’s seven-year-old nephew Julian King, who is reported missing.

“We can confirm that there is an ongoing investigation concerning the deaths of Jennifer Hudson’s mother and her brother,” the actress’ publicist Lisa Kaestler said in a statement.

“No further comment will be made and the family has asked that their privacy be respected at this difficult time.”

A police spokeswoman said there was no sign of forced entry into the house and that the deaths appeared to be the result of domestic abuse.

She added that they were currently “talking to a number of people in custody”.

Jennifer Hudson sprang to fame after appearing in the finals of the third series of American Idol.

She went on to star in the movie musical Dreamgirls, winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, and has since appeared in the film version of Sex And The City.

Her latest film, The Secret Life Of Bees, has just been released in the US. She is also currently in the UK charts with the track Spotlight.