Willie Spence ‘American Idol’ runner-up died in car crash at age 23
They say that Willie Spence, a former runner-up on “American Idol” died in a car crash on Tuesday.
Spence, now 23 years old, competed in the program is nineteenth season and came in second place, behind Chayce Beckham.
The preliminary report from the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Marion County Medical Examiner states that the accident happened at around 4 p.m. on Tuesday in Marion County in East Tennessee, when Spence’s 2019 Jeep Cherokee “left the roadway” and collided with the back of a tractor trailer that was stopped on the shoulder of the east side of Interstate 24, near the 147 mile marker.
The investigation states that both Spence, a native of Georgia, and the tractor trailer’s 68-year-old driver were buckled up throughout the collision.
Officials with the Tennessee Highway Patrol have stated that they are looking into what caused Spence’s automobile to go off the road.
Barbara O’Neal, the Marion County Medical Examiner, ruled that Spence died from “multisystem trauma due to motor vehicle accident” and proclaimed him dead at the site.
Spence uploaded a video of himself performing “You Are My Hiding Place” to Instagram just hours before the tragedy.
Former “Idol” runner-up Katharine McPhee Foster, who sang a duet with Spence in Season 19, took to Instagram to share the sad news.
Nothing is ever guaranteed in this life, she lamented. “God rest your soul Willie. It was a pleasure to sing with you and to know you.”
Spence’s journey on “Idol” began when he sang “Diamonds” by Rihanna for Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan at his audition. Richie gave him a standing ovation and declared him a “undeniable star” after the performance, and the judges ultimately sent him to Hollywood.
At his audition, Spence told the judges, “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,” It will be challenging, but I think I can pull it off.
That Grammy is within your reach, Bryan assured him.
According to a post on his Instagram, Spence was going to do a gig in London the next month.