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PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - NOVEMBER 25: Singer Willie Spence is seen during the 102nd 6abc Dunkin' Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 25, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images)

American Idol runner-up Willie Spence has passed away at the age of 23. The incident took place within the past 24 hours as he still has an IG story up. The only details that are being reported is that he was in a car accident in Tennessee and died from his injuries. Willie auditioned for Idol last year during its 19th season and wowed the judges with his rendition of Rihanna’s “Diamonds.” He received a “YES” from all three judges, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan and made it to Hollywood. He would continue on to make it to the finals and after performing “Georgia on My Mind” by Ray Charles, “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke and “Stand Up” by Cynthia Erivo in the season finale, he ended up ultimately coming in 2nd to Chayce Beckham.

Spence released an EP in 2021. The album included six songs, titled “Forever More,” “Chance On Me,” “Reckless,” “So Gone,” “Notice Me,” and “One Minute With God.” Spence had been working on new music recently. Back in February of this year, he teased a new song “Myself” with the lyrics: “I can see the world is so proud of me / But this ain’t exactly where I wanna be / Not really trying to sound ungrateful.” Later, he says that he’s “bigger than myself” and he plans to “keep on pushing, keep on striving, keep on praying through it all.”

Back in February, Timbaland shared a video of Spence on his IG with the caption “SHINE BRIGHT.” As of most recently, Spence had been traveling and doing small shows, festivals and other types of events. He was working on an album although there was no official release date. Below are some reactions from fans who are stunned by the news. Condolences to Spence’s family and friends.

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