Willie Spence Crash Details Revealed — ‘American Idol’ Star Dead at 23
Willie Spence was killed in a car crash near Chattanooga, Tenn., on Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 11). The American Idol star had posted a performance from a vehicle just two hours earlier.
WSB-TV in Atlanta, Ga., reports that Spence was driving a Jeep Cherokee that veered off I-24 near Chattanooga at around 4PM ET on Tuesday. The vehicle struck a car that was stopped on the shoulder of the road. The driver of that vehicle was not injured. The Marion County Sheriff's Office provided the information to the television news station.
At approximately 1PM CT, Spence uploaded a video of him singing a worship song called "You Are My Hiding Place" to his Instagram page. He was seated in the front seat of a vehicle when he performed the song, but it was not moving. Fans, friends and family have used the video as a place to grieve and remember the Season 19 American Idol runner-up.
"Sweet @williespenceofficial passed away in a car accident," wrote Katherine McPhee on her own Instagram page. "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."
McPhee — a 2006 American Idol finalist — had performed with Spence during his time on the show in 2021. He'd ultimately finish second to country singer Chayce Beckham.
While on American Idol, Spence was praised for his big voice and lovable personality. A cover of Ray Charles' "Georgia on My Mind" stands out. "You have delivered every single time, and I can see you doing that the rest of your life," judge Luke Bryan raved, with his fellow judges agreeing.
Spence auditioned for American Idol with a cover of "Diamonds" by Rihanna, and immediately, the judges fell in love with his style and understated personality. During subsequent rounds, he'd sing songs by John Legend, Adele, Elton John and Joe Cocker. Douglas Now was the first to report Spence's death.