Luke Bryan shares heartbreaking tribute to late American Idol runner-up Willie Spence

Luke Bryan is mourning the sudden and tragic death of former American Idol runner-up Willie Spence, as is the American Idol community.

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The 23-year-old's death was first reported by TMZ on 12 October, citing a car accident on 11 October as the cause of death. He participated on American Idol in 2021.

The country singer was one of the judges that oversaw the late singer's success on the singing competition show, alongside Katy Perry and Lionel Richie.

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Luke took to Instagram to pay tribute to the young talent, sharing a clip the official American Idol page shared of his audition in light of his death.

He wrote: "Willie really did light up every room he walked into. He could change the mood instantly when he started singing. He will be truly missed.

The clip from his audition sees him telling the judges: "You know I do this for me, but not only for me. I do this for my family, you know. They've always supported me, they've been there from the very beginning," and he went on to sing Rihanna's 2012 hit song Diamonds.

Willie's audition truly blew the judges away

His stellar voice immediately took the judges' breath away, with Luke telling him: "You are a special, special human being," and that he did not want his audition to end.

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Katy also immediately recognized his talent, and when she asked him where he saw himself in five years, he said: "I just want to share my voice with the world, this gift. Hopefully winning a Grammy one day, that's where I see myself in five years."


The singer's talent is unforgettable

The Teenage Dream singer took to the comments section to also pay tribute, writing: "I love you Willie… purest soul. Sing with the angels my darling."

Willie was a runner-up to Chayce Beckham during his time on the show. Per a report from the Tennessee Highway Patrol, his tragic accident occured in Marion County in East Tennessee, when his car collided with the back of a tractor trailer.

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