A cherished member of the American Idol family has passed away.
Fellow American Idol alum Katharine McPhee tweeted the news of the death of former contestant Willie Spence on October 11. Spence finished second in season 19 of the competition series in 2021. She began her Instagram Story by saying, “I received really bad news tonight.” “Sadly, the adorable @williespenceofficial died in a car accident. 23 years old alone.”
The Idol coach for Spence’s season, McPhee remarked, “Life is so harsh and nothing is ever given. “Willie, may God rest your soul. It was a pleasure getting to know you and singing with you.”
According to a Tennessee Highway Patrol report acquired by E! News, Spence passed away as a result of an interstate collision involving his car and a tractor-trailer in Marion County.
Local publication DouglasNow, which is based in Georgia, also announced his loss on Facebook “We send our sympathies to Willie’s loved ones, friends, and supporters. He had a rare skill and shone a light on millions of people all around the world. We will miss him.”
On October 11, Spence posted his last Instagram to his account, singing Selah’s “You Are My Hiding Place.” Following the release of the news of Spence’s passing, messages from fans, friends, and other celebrities flooded the comments section of his Instagram post.
The Voice contestant Ali Caldwell exclaimed, “Wowww, my heart truly hurts.” “Willie, may you rest in peace. A true star! A sweet soul, too! We will miss you!”
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Spence made a lasting impression on judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan two years ago when he sang Rihanna’s “Diamonds” during his American Idol audition. Richie gave the singer a standing ovation and referred to him as an “undeniable” star.
Perry further informed Spence that “You are aware of your excellent singing. So my question is, when you think about your future and you are aware of the voice you possess—because you are aware that it has the power to make people halt in their tracks, this is the magic you possess—what do you want it to look like in five years? If nothing got in your way, you could do anything you could imagine.”
Spence said that he wants to “reach the world” with his voice and spread his gift. On his wish list, he also included, “perhaps someday taking home a Grammy. In five years, I hope to be in that position.”
He said, “It’s going to take hard effort, but I feel like I can accomplish it.”
Spence proceeded to put up amazing performances after receiving a “yes” from the three judges and moving on to Hollywood, earning him a place in the finals. Spence captivated the hearts of viewers all over the world, even though the season’s winner was Chayce Beckham.