Willie Spence, a former “American Idol” runner-up, passed away on Tuesday after an automobile accident, according to investigators.
Spence, 23, came in second place behind Chayce Beckham in the 19th season of the program, which aired the previous year.
Who Was Willie Spence?
Spence was born in West Palm Beach, Florida, on June 18, 1999, and his family later relocated to Douglas, Georgia, where he grew up.
When Spence was a senior in high school, he uploaded videos of himself singing online. A video of him performing “Diamonds” by Rihanna became viral in 2017 and received over 15 million views on YouTube.
He received a lot of attention as a result, and Steve Harvey invited him to appear on his talk program.
Spence tried out for season 19 of American Idol in 2021. The judges gave Spence high marks for his efforts, and he ultimately finished second in the competition, just behind Chayce Beckham.
Willie blew everyone away with his incredible rendition of Rihanna’s “Diamonds” during his Season 19 audition, making him a front-runner with both the judges, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan, as well as the “American Idol” audience.
Willie quickly emerged as the musician everyone wanted to see succeed thanks to his crystal-clear vocals, vivacious demeanor, and history of overcoming health issues brought on by his weight.
Willie told the judges during the audition, “I just want my voice to reach the world and just share my gift — hopefully winning a Grammy one day, that’s where I see myself in five years.” It will require a lot of work, but I believe I can accomplish it.
Willie ran with his newfound success and popularity! Willie released the single “So Gone” and a music video for it before “American Idol,” but it wasn’t until after the competition that he really started to find his voice.
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In September, he collaborated with Briana Moir to record an incredible cover of “The Living Years,” and in October, he revealed he would be playing a show in London.
Willie Spence Death
Willie Spence, who captured the hearts of “American Idol” viewers with his powerful voice and contagious smile, passed away tragically in a car accident at the age of 23.
The Season 19 runner-up on American Idol, Willie Spence, passed away on October 11 in Tennessee from injuries sustained in an automobile accident.
The budding star, who discussed his career goals with HollywoodLife in 2021, was only 23 years old when the tragedy occurred. Sadly, he last updated his Instagram with a concert announcement for London.
The singer’s hometown newspaper, Douglas Now, broke the news of his passing online first. The source continued, “He was an exceptional talent and a ray of light to millions around the world. “I will miss him.”
According to an early report from the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the collision happened on Tuesday around 4 p.m. in Marion County in East Tennessee, as reported by NBC News.
According to the site, Willie’s 2019 Jeep Cherokee struck the back of a tractor-trailer that was parked on a highway’s shoulder.
Soon after the announcement, Katharine McPhee, who shared the stage with Willie while he was an Idol contestant, posted a message to her Instagram Story with the caption, “Life is so unfair and nothing is ever promised.”
God rest your soul, Willie, she continued. It was a pleasure getting to know you and singing with you.