Willie Spence captured the hearts of America when he auditioned for ‘American Idol’ with a rendition of Rihanna’s song ‘Diamonds’.
The news was first posted by the local news channel, Douglas Now, on Facebook. According to the outlet, Spence was involved in a car accident in Tennessee.
“Willie Spence, 23, has died from injuries sustained in a car accident in Tennessee,” the outlet wrote. “We have no further details at this time.”
The news was later seemingly confirmed by Willie’s friend, K. Michelle, on Instagram with two posts paying tribute to Spence.
Family members also posted the news on Facebook, including Spence’s cousin, Charlayne Flint-Jackson.
“To my little niece who was here for a short time but made the biggest impact on people with his beautiful smile, heart and your anointed voice,” she wrote. “Yes” M” Willie Spence we all know you were here because you touch us all An angel on earth returned home take your rest dear ones you will be deeply missed and always remembered your music will live forever .
She went on to ask for prayers for her family.
Katharine Foster, who performed with Spence on an episode of “American Idol,” shared the news on her Instagram Stories.
“I received very tragic news tonight,” she wrote on her Stories alongside a video of their first meeting. “Sweet @williespenceofficial has died 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 get to know you.”
She also commented on one of Spence’s latest posts.
‘Dear Willie… you have earned the stars and the moon. I’m so sorry the world is being robbed of more precious time with you. You were an absolute angel. I know you’re up there now with the rest of the angels. God rest your soul. For now I am 💔,” she wrote.
Spence’s latest Instagram post has him singing in his car next to the caption “Lord, you are my hide place”.
Hunter Metts, who was on “American Idol” with Spence, commented, “I have no words – my heart is broken. Grateful for the time and experiences we shared. Rest in peace Willie.”
Spence finished season 19 of “American Idol” in second place, behind only winner Chayce Beckham.
On the week of the “American Idol” finale, Spence visited his hometown of Douglas, Georgia, where Mayor Tony Paulk “declared Tuesday, May 18, Willie Spence Day, and gave him a key to the city,” according to WSB TV.
Governor Brian Kemp declared the entire week “Willie Spence Week” statewide.
Spence hoped to win a Grammy Award, he told the judges when he auditioned for “American Idol.”
“I just want my voice to reach the world and share my gift, hopefully win a Grammy one day,” he said during his audition. “That’s where I see myself in 5 years… It will be hard work, but I think I can do it.”
The singer was preparing to perform in London for the first time on November 12, he shared on Instagram.
Spence released an EP in 2021. The album contained six tracks, titled ‘Forever More’, ‘Chance On Me’, ‘Reckless’, ‘So Gone’, ‘Notice Me’ and ‘One Minute With God’.