‘American Idol’ Runner-up Willie Spence Dead At 23 Due To Injuries Sustained In A Car Accident
The American Idol fandom has sadly lost one of its stars.
According to reports, American Idol Season 19 Runner-up Willie Spence passed away due to injuries sustained in a car accident. The fatal incident took place in Tennessee on Tuesday (October 11). As you may recall, during American Idol Season 19, judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Ritchie advanced Willie Spence to Hollywood following a stunning audition of Rihanna’s hit song “Diamonds”.
At the time, Lionel Richie said of the performance:
“Willie, you have demonstrated exactly what we’ve been looking for. You’ve just brought the artist to the table and honestly, you’re an undeniable star. You, my friend, are so gifted. On the first note I had chills [from] all of your phrasings and all your expressions, and your believability. I cannot tell you how excited I am to have you join us on this show. Really, man, that was just an enjoyable session to watch.”
Willie Spence was eventually promoted to the finals of American Idol, where he sang “Georgia on My Mind” by Ray Charles, “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke, and “Stand Up” by Cynthia Erivo. Although Chayce Beckham received more viewer votes and ultimately became the American Idol, Willie’s incredible talent won him the hearts of the viewers.
Singer Katharine McPhee, who performed a cover of “The Prayer” by Bette Midler with Willie during Season 19, took to Instagram to mourn. Katharine McPhee wrote:
“I received very tragic news tonight. Sweet @williespenceofficial passed away in a car accident. Only 23 years old. Life is so unfair and nothing is ever promised. God rest your soul Willie. It was a pleasure to sing with you and to know you.”
Movie producer Randall Emmett also paid tribute to Willie on Instagram:
“My heart is broken and my prayers go out to his family. I was lucky to have him sing for me live at my home and other events, I will miss you my friend. I know you touched so many of us. I’m heart broken.”
Willie’s fans took to Twitter to share their condolences as well.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of Willie Spence during this difficult time.