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Fans stunned by Willie Spence’s latest Instagram post before his death

Fans and friends waver as news of Willie Spence, runner-up in season 19 of “American Idol,” the fatal car crash spreads, but some find solace in the last words he made public hours before his death at age 23. wrote and sang on Instagram.

In the year since finishing second on American Idol, just behind country singer Chayce Beckham, Spence has enjoyed growing success as a gospel singer. He released his first album in 2021, appeared on the reunion show “Idol” in May 2022 and performed in several gigs in the US, while others were planned in the UK.

According to NBC News, Spence’s fatal crash occurred on Oct. 11, 2022, around 4 p.m. in East Tennessee’s Marion County. A preliminary report from the Tennessee Highway Patrol states that Spence’s 2019 Jeep Cherokee “went off the roadway” and collided with the back of a tractor parked on the shoulder of the highway. Both he and the driver of the truck were wearing seat belts.

A few hours before his tragic death, Spence posted an Instagram video of himself in a car while in Nashville, broadcasting the worship song “You Are My Hiding Place.” In the caption, Spence simply wrote, “Lord, you are my shelter” and added two emojis: a microphone and the eyes-welling-with-tears-face.

Spence sang the entire song, written in 1981 by Michael Ledner, about one’s belief in God:

Spence’s post has found many fans to be eerily comforting and prophetic.

Season 18 “Idol” contestant Jimmy Levy wrote, “God was ready to hold you in his arms in heaven after this song. HalleluYah he sent you on earth like an angel.”

One grieving fan wrote: “This is beyond crazy, this is your last post! God needed you more…this is heartbreaking! God why. Such a beautiful soul.”

Another commented: “What a beautiful final curtain call. RIP Willie Spence, the world heard you.”

“It’s crazy that he posted this right before he got involved in the accident,” wrote one woman, adding: “you definitely sang your way to the king of heaven…so so so so so sad”

Spence blew away the “American Idol” judges during his first audition, which aired on ABC in early 2021. Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan were so impressed that they spent time chatting with Spence about his dreams in what has become in hindsight, a heartbreaking discussion about his future.

After giving Spence’s rendition of Rihanna’s “Diamonds” a standing ovation, Richie repeatedly said “incredible” and Bryan added, “You are a special, special person.”

Perry then asked Spence a serious question.

“So my question is… if you think about your future and you know the voice you have – because, you know, it stops people in their tracks, this is the magic you have – how do you want it to be about five years looks like in your wildest dreams if nothing stood in your way?”

Spence replied, “I just want my voice to reach the world and just share my gift. Hopefully one day win a Grammy. That’s where I see myself in five years.”

When Perry asked if he thought he could do it, he said, “It’ll be hard work, but I think I can do it.”

Bryan agreed, saying, “That Grammy is achievable, no doubt in my mind. I mean, you start singing…I see your life, like I see it all! To see someone sing from a place where I aspire to sing – the purest place in the world and it just comes from your heart and your brain.”

American Idol’s social media accounts posted a tribute to Spence on the morning of Oct. 12, stating, “We are devastated by the passing of our beloved American Idol family member, Willie Spence. He was a true talent who made every room he came in and will be greatly missed. We extend our condolences to his loved ones.”

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