We are sad to report that Willie Spence, the powerhouse singer who made it to the finals of ABC’s American Idol last year, died at the young age of 23.
The news of his passing was shared on Tuesday (October 11) by fellow Idol alum Katherine McPhee-Foster. The season 5 runner-up mentioned that Spence died from injuries sustained in a car accident. “Only 23 years old. Life is so unfair and nothing is ever promised,” she wrote. “God rest your soul Willie. It was a pleasure to sing with you and to know you.”
McPhee-Foster, who performed Bette Midler’s “The Prayer” with Spence on season 19, added another comment on his post from September 25. “Sweet Willie… you deserved the stars and the moon. I’m so sorry for the world to be robbed of more precious time with you. You were an absolute Angel. I know you are up there now with the rest of the angels. God rest your soul.”
TMZ reported that an unnamed family source said the singer was driving back home to Atlanta from Tennessee when he reportedly crashed into a semi parked on the side of the road. Local site Douglas Now in Spence’s hometown of Douglas, Ga., was the first to report the news. No additional information is available about the accident currently.
Spence was a standout during season 19, earning a standing ovation (and, three “yes” votes, of course), for his rendition of Rihanna’s “Diamonds.” He sang all the way to the finale, earning the runner-up spot behind winner Chayce Beckham. Spence would go on to release his The Voice EP in 2021, and was slated to perform in London next month. Just hours before the crash, he posted his final IG post, a video of him singing “You Are My Hiding Place.”
We send love to his family, friends, and fans.