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American Idol Alum Mandisa Found Dead In Her Nashville Home

American Idol Alum Mandisa Found Dead In Her Nashville Home

Famed former American Idol contestant and Grammy Award winning singer Mandisa has died.

Born Mandisa Lynn Hundley and known professionally simply by her first name, Mandisa rose to prominence in 2005 on the music competition show. She then had a long and very successful career in the Christian music industry. But sadly, per multiple reports, she passed away in her home in Nashville, Tennessee on Thursday. Her cause of death is not yet known. She was only 47 years old.

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After being born in the Sacramento area, Mandisa was raised in the city of Citrus Heights and matriculated to American River College where she studied vocal jazz. From there, she transferred to Fisk University in Nashville to further study music. She was expertly trained and had her trademark booming vocal power already by the time she landed on American Idol in 2005. She eventually finished in ninth place on that season of the show — and drew lots of viral attention from viewers after judge Simon Cowell made comments about her weight during her early performances.

Late in that season, Mandisa responded to Simon by taking the high road regarding his persistent and demeaning fat jokes. She told the harsh Idol judge at the time:

“What I want to say to you is that, yes, you hurt me and I cried and it was painful, it really was. But I want you to know that I’ve forgiven you and that you don’t need someone to apologize in order to forgive somebody. I figure that if Jesus could die so that all of my wrongs could be forgiven, I can certainly extend that same grace to you.”

Simon was moved by the comment and admitted he was “humbled” by her reaction to his snark and flippant remarks. Mandisa then released multiple albums, including her debut True Beauty in 2007. Her 2013 album Overcomer won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Album. That success propelled the singer into the stratosphere in her corner of the music industry, and she became one of the biggest Christian music stars in America.

Now, very sadly, the Christian music world has lost her — and they are mourning accordingly. KTIS radio host Keith Stevens paid tribute to Mandisa on Thursday, calling her a “major influence” on the industry and adding:

“I am deeply saddened to share with you that Christian Artist Mandisa has passed away at her home in Nashville. She was a major influence in my life and yours, and all of us at KTIS. She performed at so many KTIS events and perhaps you were there. Today, our lives feel this great loss. Please pray for her family. We love you Mandisa. Thank you for blessing our lives and shining the light of Jesus in everything you did.”

Another nationally syndicated Christian radio station, K-Love, sent out a statement about Mandisa’s passing via its affiliates, as well. The station’s media officer David Pierce stated:

“Even more than her music, the Platinum-selling singer will forever be known for her huge heart and sincerity. Mandisa loved Jesus, and she used her unusually extensive platform to talk about Him at every turn. Her kindness was epic, her smile electric, her voice massive, but it was no match for the size of her heart. Mandisa struggled, and she was vulnerable enough to share that with us, which helped us talk about our own struggles.”

So sad. We send our condolences to Mandisa’s friends, family, loved ones, and fans as they grapple with her unexpected and untimely death.


[Image via JLN Photography/Chris Connor/WENN]

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Apr 19, 2024 08:23am PDT