Willie Spence has been honored online following reports of his death in a fatal car crash earlier in the week. the american idol the singer was 23 years old.
Spence’s Jeep Cherokee ran off the road in Jasper, Tenn., around 4 p.m. Tuesday, colliding with a vehicle parked on the shoulder, according to WSB-TV. Spence was killed in the accident, but the other driver, Raymond Kresl, 68, was not injured, WSB-TV said. The other vehicle was a tractor-trailer, according to WGXA-TV.
Hours before the accident, Spence shared a video on his Instagram account, where he sang the gospel song “You Are My Hiding Place” while in his car. The song was written by Carol Cymbala, the choir director of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, and popularized by the band Selah.
Spence was due to perform in London for the first time on November 12 at Trinity Baptist Church Oasis House.
He rose to fame in season 19 of american idol, singing a version of Rihanna’s “Diamonds” for his audition, the same song he sang in a 2017 viral video that launched his career. This first video has been viewed almost 15.9 million times since its publication.
Its viral success led to spots on Stevethe daytime talk show hosted by comedian Steve Harvey, and eventually his run on american idol. Spence made it to the top three finalists, eventually finishing second to Chayce Beckham last year.
Tributes poured in for the beloved singer after his death was confirmed on Wednesday.
“We are devastated by the passing of our beloved American Idol family member, Willie Spence. He was a true talent who lit up every room he walked in and he will be deeply missed. We send our condolences to his relatives”, american idol share on Twitter, with a photo of one of Spence’s performances.
“Everyone on and off set loved him. @Williespence you will be sorely missed,” american idol host Ryan Seacrest tweetedby adding a broken heart emoji.
“Dear God, tear up sweet Willie Spence [broken heart emoji]” companion american idol candidate Mickey Guyton wrote.
“Willie Spence was a force of nature. His voice inspired so many and touched the hearts of all who heard him. My heart goes out to Willie’s family and friends, he will be missed. The world has lost a beautiful soul, but his music will live forever. [blue heart emoji].” Fritz Hager, who ranked in the Top 5 of american idol season, wrote.
Beckham penned a lengthy tribute to his compatriot on his Instagram.
“It’s hard to find the words to say here other than I loved Willie very much. He was a good gentle soul and a warm ray of light in a cold dark world that needed him so much,” wrote Beckham. “When Willie sang, I swear it shook a whole room. I think Willie had a voice that God gave him specifically to spread his message, when Willie sang gospel, it could make you cry.
“Willie also had a laugh that could make you melt, an honest humor that you couldn’t help but love, and the biggest heart you could imagine, packed into one human. His larger-than-life energy was contagious. and I loved being around him,” he continued. “My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans, whom I know he loved dearly and held close to his heart. I look forward to singing with you in heaven, where I know I’ll see you soon. Rest in peace my brother.”
Pleasemynews has contacted ABC for comment.