Luke Bryan Remembers ‘American Idol’ Star Willie Spence
Luke Bryan looked back on Season 19 of American Idol and what Willie Spence was capable of as he paid tribute to the late singer on Wednesday (Oct. 12).
"He could change the mood instantly when he started singing," Bryan shares.
Spence died at age 23 on Tuesday after the Jeep Cherokee he was driving veered off of I-24 near Chattanooga, Tenn., and struck a vehicle that had stopped on the shoulder. His stunning death came just hours after he reminded his half-million followers on social media why he was so dynamic. A video performance from a vehicle of a worship song proved to be his final notes for fans.
"Willie really did light up every room he walked into," Bryan writes, quote-tweeting the official American Idol Twitter account's message about Spence's death. "He will be truly missed."
Other stars from Season 19 of American Idol also took to social media to remember Spence.
Judge Lionel Richie shared Spence's performance of Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain" from 2021 and captioned with a few personal words:
"Your light will always shine in this world," the veteran star says. "We were so blessed to get a chance to see you shine. My thoughts and prayers are with Willie's family. Rest well my friend."
Season 19 winner Chayce Beckham also remembers Spence fondly, gushing about his larger-than-life personality, honest sense of humor and voice that could shake a room and bring you to tears.
The gospel performance of "You Are My Hiding Place" has become a place to tribute Spence, a fan-favorite from 2021. He auditioned with Rihanna's "Diamonds," a song he had casually performed in a church circle some time before his fame. This video remains pinned to his Instagram page.
Judge Katy Perry offered a sympathetic word in the official American Idol Instagram announcement of Spence's death, while host Ryan Seacrest shared his thoughts on Instagram Story.
Since finishing second on American Idol, the singer had remained busy and was very much looking forward to a show in London, planned for November.