James Arthur
Under pressure: singer James Arthur has cancelled engagements following a backlash over his "homophobic" lyric (Twitter)

X Factor winner James Arthur is lying low after finding himself at the centre of a Twitter storm and allegedly receiving death threats when he referred to a rival singer from the band Worthless as a "fucking queer" in a self-penned rap.

Arthur wrote the song in response to a song released by Worthless called Stay in Your Lane, in which he was accused of being a puppet who had slept with Simon Cowell to win the show. But his angry response backfired when celebrities including Matt Lucas and Frankie Boyle attacked him via social media.

Now Arthur, who claims to have refused media training in the past, says he has given up Twitter following his spat with Boyle, who also taunted him about his poor use of English.

In his sign-off message the singer Tweeted: '#LOVE to my fans but I'm coming off twitter for good. HQ will be doing all my tweets from now on. PEACE!'

Arthur, who has turned to mentor Nicole Scherzinger for advice, has cancelled forthcoming commitments following a crisis meeting with executives from his record label Sony. Meanwhile iTunes has offered to refund customers who purchased Arthur's album and are furious at his "homophobic" comments.

The singer captured millions of hearts on the X Factor in 2012 both with his musical ability and his amazing life story. After being raised in luxury in Bahrain he revealed he ended up sleeping rough and stealing food following his mother's separation from his stepfather and their return to the UK.

"I started sleeping rough when I was 15," he said. "I got kicked out of my mum's house and I didn't really care where I slept. I understand why she chucked me out because I was unbearable to live with. She couldn't cope with me because I was so angry. I didn't have a male role model and I couldn't relate to her so I lashed out at her. I either crashed on someone's couch or a park bench. I was a pretty tough kid, but I had to steal food a couple of times."

However, the singer has sometimes seemed unprepared for a celebrity lifestyle. In another recent interview, he admitted: "One morning after I got back from New York I wanted to fall flat on my face and never wake up. I thought about killing myself."