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American Idol Runner-Up Willie Spence Dead at 23

The American Idol family has lost a beloved member.

Former contestant Willie Spence, who was the runner-up on season 19 of the competition series in 2021, died on Oct. 11, fellow American Idol alum Katharine McPhee shared. “I received very tragic news tonight,” she began her Instagram Story message. “Sweet @williespenceofficial passed away in a car accident. Only 23 years old.”

“Life is so unfair and nothing is ever promised,” McPhee, who was an Idol mentor during Spence’s season, continued. “God rest your soul Willie. It was a pleasure to sing with you and to know you.”

While additional details have not been released, the Georgia native’s local outlet DouglasNow also shared news of his passing, writing on Facebook, “We extend our condolences to Willie’s family, friends, and fans. He was an extraordinary talent and a ray of light to millions across the world. He will be missed.”

In his final Instagram post, shared to his account on Oct. 11, Spence sang Selah‘s “You Are My Hiding Place.” After news of Spence’s death emerged, fans, friends and fellow stars flooded the comments of his Instagram post with messages.

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