According to a report from DouglasNow, the Idol Season 19 runner-up has died after sustaining fatal injuries in a car accident in Tennessee. No additional details of the accident have been released.
“DouglasNow has learned that Douglas native and American Idol Season 19 runner-up Willie Spence, 23, has passed away due to injuries sustained in an automobile accident in Tennessee,” the outlet wrote. “We have no further details at this time. We extend our condolences to Willie’s family, friends, and fans. He was an extraordinary talent and a ray of light to millions across the world. He will be missed.”
Just hours before his passing, Spence shared a video on social media singing, which he captioned, “Lord you are my hiding place”🎤🥺.”
Spence was a stand-out contestant on Season 19 of American Idol. Throughout his time on the popular singing competition show, Spence allowed his powerhouse vocals to shine and wowed America with his impressive vocal abilities.
Spence auditioned for American Idol in San Diego, California. His performance of “Diamonds” by Rihanna earned him a spot in the Hollywood rounds with a “yes” from Idol judges Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie, and Katy Perry.
“Willie, you have demonstrated exactly what we’re looking for,” Richie gushed after his audition. “You 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.”
“You are a special, special human being. Gosh I didn’t want it to end. I did not want it to end.That GRAMMY is attainable with no doubt in my mind,” Bryan said.
“The voice you have stops people right in their tracks. This is the magic you have,” Perry shared.
Throughout the season, the Georgia native covered songs such as “All Of Me” by John Legend, “Stay” by Rihanna, and “I Was Here” by Beyoncé.
After securing a spot in the Top 16, Spence delivered a show-stopping performance of Adele’s “Set Fire To The Rain.”
He continued to impress all the way into the Top 4 where he sang “Glory” by John Legend and Common and joined forces with fellow finalist Grace Kinstler for a performance of “What They’ll Say About Us” by FINNEAS.
Bryan was a big fan and support of Spence throughout the show and at one point in the competition told him, “You can do no wrong in my eyes, Part of being a star is making people fall in love with you and, man, I am in love with you, and I am in love with the way you go about being on stage, and the way you go about singing and the place it comes from. It’s amazing.”
Willie Spence ultimately placed second in the competition behind Season 19 winner Chayce Beckham.