Chayce Beckham remembered his fellow Season 21 American Idol contestant, the late Willie Spence, in a heartbreaking social media post.
Spence came in second to Beckham during last year’s competition. And while the two were each other’s biggest competitors, it didn’t stop them from becoming close friends who cheered each other on as they forged their respective careers in the music industry.
Willie Spence passed away on Tuesday, Oct 11. And after giving himself a day to grieve in private. Beckham went to Instagram to share an emotional tribute to Spence’s talent and “sweet soul.”
“It’s hard to find the words to say here, other than I loved Willie very much,” Beckham began. ” He was a good sweet soul and a warm beam of light in a cold and dark world that needed him so much.”
Chayce Beckham Believes Willie Spence’s Voice ‘Could Make You Cry’
Spence became an internet phenomenon at only 17 when a video that showed him singing Rhianna’s Diamonds with his school choir went viral. The attention landed him a spot on Steve Harvey in 2017 and subsequently led to him auditioning for American Idol.
When Spence sang for Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan, he wowed them beyond words and earned a ticket straight to Hollywood.
“When willie sang, I swear it would shake a whole room,” Beckham continued. “I think Willie had a voice that God gave him specifically to spread his message. When Willie sang gospel it could make you cry. Willie also had a laugh that could make you melt, an honest humor you couldn’t help but love, and the biggest heart you could imagine all wrapped up into one human.”
His larger-than-life energy was infectious,” the singer continued. “And I loved being around him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and fans, who I know he loved so much, and who he held close to his heart. I can’t wait to sing with you in Paradise, where I know I’ll see you again. Rest In Peace brother.”
Willie Spence died from injuries sustained in a car accident that took place on Tuesday afternoon along Interstate 24 in Marion County near Chattanooga, TN. According to authorities, the Georgia native ran off the road and hit a tractor-trailer that had pulled onto the shoulder. The driver of the truck was not injured.
Spence was pronounced dead at the scene. And his official cause of death was listed as ”multisystem trauma due to motor vehicle accident.” The singer was 23 years old.