Willie Spence, the runner-up in the 2021 edition of American Idol has passed away after being involved in a car accident on Tuesday.
As per tragic reports from Spence’s hometown of Douglas, Georgia, the singer was just 23 years old at the time of his death.
“He was an extraordinary talent and a ray of light to millions across the world. He will be missed,” the post reads.
TMZ later revealed that the singer’s passing had been confirmed by one of his relatives.
The same family member told TMZ that Spence had crashed into a semi that was parked on the side of the road as he was leaving Atlanta.
“We are devastated about the passing of our beloved American Idol family member, Willie Spence,” read the caption on a video of Spence’s audition, posted on the show’s Instagram account.
“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.”
Spence rose to fame a few years ago thanks to his bubbly personality and amazing voice. A video of him singing Rihanna’s “Diamonds” in a school classroom in 2017 went viral – it has since racked up more than 15 million views on YouTube.
It was the sheer popularity of the above video that got him an appearance on Steve Harvey’s daytime talk show. Spence then wet on to audition for “American Idol” in 2021, performing the same song.
His audition was widely loved. Spence himself said after: “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.”
Naturally, social media has erupted with prayers for the late Willie, who looked set to enjoy a wonderful career in the music industry.
Just hours before he died, Spence posted a video of himself singing on Instagram.
“You are my hiding place. You always fill my heart with songs of deliverance. Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you. I will trust in you. Let the weak say, ‘I am strong in the strength of the Lord,’” he sang.