The 23-year-old singer tragically died in a car accident on Tuesday, October 11, 2022.
According to CNN, “Spence was driving an SUV when he went off the road and crashed into a car that was stopped on the shoulder.”
After his tragic passing, a video of Spence performing on stage in Season 19 of the show was posted on American Idol’s official Instagram account. The caption of the video read, “We are devastated about the passing of our beloved American Idol family member, Willie Spence. He was a true talent who lit up every room he entered and will be deeply missed. We send our condolences to his loved ones.”
Willie became famous after singing Rihanna’s hit song Diamonds in a classroom in 2017. The YouTube video of his performance has more than fifteen million views and thousands of comments.
Later, he appeared on Season 19 of American Idol in 2021, performed the same song, and became the season’s runner-up.
CNN wrote: “He blew judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan away with Richie declaring Spence ‘unbelievable’ and Bryan saying he did not want the singer’s performance to end.”
When Katy Perry asked Willie about where he would like to see himself in five years, “When you think about your future, and you think about the voice you have cause you know it stops people in their tracks, this is the magic you have, in five years what do you want it to look like?” In your wildest dreams, if nothing was standing in your way?”
He replied, “I just want my voice to reach the world and just share my gift. Hopefully winning a Grammy one day. That’s where I see myself in five years.”
Following his death, thousands of people commented on his last singing video on his Instagram and expressed their sorrow.
“At a loss for words – My heart is broken. Thankful for the time and experiences we shared. Rest in peace, Willie,” singer Hunter Metts commented.
“This HURTS!!!!!! R.I.P. Willie. I can’t even deal yo!! Sending Prayers and Love to Mama Spence, his father, and Family,” another singer Saeed Renaud commented.
“Wowww my heart really hurts! May you rest in paradise Willie. Such a star! And a sweet soul! You will be missed!” wrote another fellow musician.
American Idol’s fifth season runner-up Katharine McPhee Foster also shared a story on her Instagram account and paid tribute to the talented musician.
“I received very tragic news tonight. Sweet @williespenceofficial passed away 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 to know you.”
Another fellow co-star of Spence whom he met at Season 19 – Alex Miller, also mourned the sudden death of her friend and wrote,
“I heard some really shocking news this morning. A friend of mine from idol passed away Willie Spence. I got to sing with Willie behind the scenes of the show, and I enjoyed watching him go all the way to the finale of American Idol. So sorry for his family, please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”
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