American Idol’s Willie Spence Dead at 23, Katharine McPhee Reacts

American Idol Willie Spence Dead at 23 Katharine McPhee Reacts

Willie Spence
Courtesy Willie Spence/Instagram

Too soon. American IdolAfter being in a car accident, Willie Spence, an alumnus, died. He was 23.

The season 19 runner-up, a native of Douglas, Georgia, “passed away due to injuries sustained in an automobile accident in Tennessee,” local news outlet Douglas Now reported on Tuesday, October 11. “We have no further details at this time. We extend our condolences to Willie’s family, friends, and fans. He was an extraordinary talent and a light to millions all over the world. He will be missed,” the report continued.

Katharine McPhee took to her Instagram Story on Tuesday to share more about Spence’s passing. “I received very tragic news tonight,” the SmashThe 38-year old alum wrote alongside a clip showing her meeting the contestant. “Sweet @williespenceofficial passed away in a car accident. Only 23 years old.”

American Idol Willie Spence Dead at 23 Katharine McPhee Reacts 2

Katharine McPhee
Matt Baron/Shutterstock

The former Waitress star continued: “Life is so unfair and nothing is ever promised. Willie, God bless you. It was a pleasure to sing with you and to know you.”

McPhee closed her message with several broken-heart emojis. The season 5 runner up also included a video of her returning to the podium. American IdolAs a mentor, which she first posted via Instagram on April 2021.

“One of the things I think is really special about you and that I love about singers is their ability to make you feel like you’re telling a story,” she told Spence in the exchange as they bonded over losing loved ones and dedicating their music to their memories.

The pair performed a duet of “The Prayer,” which was written by McPhee’s husband, David Foster. Reflecting on the special moment in the comments section following Spence’s death, the California native wrote, “Rest in heaven Willie. 💔💔💔💔.”

McPhee posted a video of McPhee singing in his car in an Instagram Story on Tuesday. “He posted this right before the accident,” she wrote.

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Willie Spence
Robb Cohen/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Spence’s upload was quickly flooded with comments in his honor, with the Scorpion alum adding, “You’re with Jesus now. God bless you. Thankful for the time we had.”

Caleb KennedyAnother finalist in season 19 was praised by his fellow contestants American Idol alum’s talent. “Your voice will forever be in my heart. I’m gonna miss you so much big guy can’t wait to hear that voice when I make it up there!! 💔,” the country crooner commented.

Spence wowed viewers in 2021 during his initial audition with his rendition of “Diamonds” by RihannaTelling judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan Lionel RichieAbout his passion for performing. “I do this for me, but not only for me, I do this for my family,” the hopeful star explained. “They’ve always supported me. They’ve been there from the very beginning.”

The EP was released by the soul singer titled The VoiceAfter the competition, he was scheduled to perform in London in October.