‘American Idol’ Runner-Up Willie Spence Dies in Car Crash

Willie Spence, a singer who finished as runner-up on Season 19 of American Idol last year, has died. He was 23.

The Douglas, Tennessee native was killed after being involved in a motor vehicle accident, according to a report from local news outlet DouglasNow. Singer-songwriter and fellow American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee confirmed the news on her Instagram Story on Tuesday, October 11, posting a message alongside a video of herself and Spence.

“I received very tragic news tonight,” wrote McPhee, who performed a duet with Spence during the Season 19 finale. “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.”

Katharine McPhee Instagram

Katharine McPhee Instagram

McPhee also directed fans to an Instagram Story which Spence had posted just hours before the tragic accident. In the video, Spence sits in his car while performing a rendition of the classic worship song “You Are My Hiding Place.”

“Sweet Willie… you deserved the stars and the moon,” McPhee commented on Spence’s most recent Instagram post, where he revealed he was to perform in London for the first time on November 12. “I’m so sorry for the world to be robbed of more precious time with you. You were an absolute Angel. I know you are up there now with the rest of the angels. God rest your soul.”

Many other fans and friends flooded Spence’s social media pages with tributes. “Wow man, you had such a light. Rest easy,” wrote singer Will Gittens in an Instagram comment, while former American Idol finalist Michael J. Woodard commented, “Rest in peace willie we love you.”

“We will miss your beautiful soul my friend. But we will see you again,” singer and vocal coach Stevie Mackey wrote. Singer Naquan Reese added, “Bro our sessions were unmatched man. I’m in disbelief. Life is crazy.”

Check out more tributes below.