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American Idol Star Willie Spence Dead at 23

The singer was runner-up in season 19 of American Idol in 2021.

American Idol Star Willie Spence Dead at 23

Willie Spence, who shot to fame as the runner-up on American Idol in 2021, has died tragically in a car accident in Tennessee. According to the accident report, Spence was driving an SUV when he went off the road and crashed into a car that was stopped on the shoulder, but he’s reported to have died on Tuesday from injuries sustained in the accident. The news of his passing was later confirmed to TMZ by a family member. 

Spence wowed fans and judges alike with his recital of Rihanna’s ‘Diamonds’ in season 19 of American Idol, and received endorsements from all three of the panel – Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan. 

The singer had shared a video of himself singing inside a car hours before his accident, The caption for the post read:

“Lord you are my hiding place”🎤🥺.

Willie’s American Idol Journey  

The West Palm Beach, Florida native relocated with his family to Georgia as a child. It was while singing in his local high school that Spence was first discovered. A video of him singing “Diamonds” in what appeared to be a classroom in 2017 went viral and has since racked up more than 15 million views on YouTube.

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The performance landed him an appearance on Steve Harvey’s daytime talk show. Spence also chose to perform the song for his audition for “American Idol” in 2021. 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.

American Idol Star Willie Spence Dead at 23

“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?” Perry asked Spence. “In your wildest dreams, if nothing was standing in your way?”

“I just want my voice to reach the world and just share my gift,” Spence replied. “Hopefully winning a Grammy one day. That’s where I see myself in five years.”

Since news of the singer’s passing broke out, social media has been flooded with condolences. Along with his latest Instagram post being filled with endless tributary messages, Twitter has also accumulated several posts from fans expressing grief over Spence’s untimely demise.

According to his Instagram, Spence was planning on giving his first concert in London with several other special guests next month.

Source:, and

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Written By

Harjyot Sandhu is an Entertainment & Arts Intern at Empire Weekly. She was born and raised in Mumbai, and recently graduated with Bachelor's degree in Mass Media & Communications. She is an avid geek when it comes to contemporary media and her core interests lie within the entertainment and fitness industry. Harjyot enjoys the ever-changing pace of the world & human evolution.

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