Fans Astonished By Willie Spence’s Final Instagram Post Before His Death

Willie Spence

ABC/YouTube Willie Spence on "American Idol" in 2021

Fans and friends are reeling as word spreads of “American Idol” season 19 runner-up Willie Spence’s fatal car accident, but some are finding comfort in the last words he publicly wrote and sang on Instagram hours before his death at age 23.

Willie Spence Performed Worship Song in His Car on Instagram Video

In the year since he placed second on “American Idol,” just behind country singer Chayce Beckham, Spence had been enjoying his growing success as a gospel singer. He released his first album in 2021, appeared on the “Idol” reunion show in May 2022, and was performing various gigs around the U.S. with others planned in the U.K.

According to NBC News, Spence’s fatal crash occurred at around 4 p.m. on October 11, 2022, in Marion County in East Tennessee. A preliminary report from the Tennessee Highway Patrol states that Spence’s 2019 Jeep Cherokee “left the roadway” and collided with the back of a tractor trailer that was parked on the shoulder of the interstate. Both he and the driver of the truck were wearing their seatbelts.

A few hours before his tragic death, Spence posted an Instagram video of himself in a car while in Nashville, belting out the worship song “You Are My Hiding Place.” In the caption, Spence simply wrote, “Lord you are my hiding place” and added two emojis — a microphone and the eyes-welling-with-tears face.

Spence sang the entire song, written in 1981 by Michael Ledner, about putting one’s faith in God:

You are my hiding place
You always fill my heart with songs of deliverance
Whenever I am afraid,
I will trust in You,
I will trust in You;
Let the weak say I am strong in the strength of my Lord.

You are my hiding place
You always fill my heart with songs of deliverance
Whenever I am afraid

I will trust in You,
I will trust in You;
Let the weak say I am strong in the strength of the Lord.

Spence’s post has struck many fans as eerily comforting and prophetic.

Season 18 “Idol” contestant Jimmy Levy wrote, “God was ready to hold you in his arms in heaven after this song. HalleluYah he sent you as an angel on earth.”

One grieving fan wrote, “This is beyond crazy this is your last post! God needed you more … this is heart breaking ! God why. Such a beautiful soul.”

Another commented, “What a beautiful final curtain call. RIP Willie Spence, the world has heard you.”

“It’s crazy he posted this right before he got into the accident,” one woman wrote, adding, “you definitely sang your way to heaven king … so so so sooo sad”

‘American Idol’ Judges Said They Could See Willie Spence’s Future During First Audition

STUNNING Singer! Willie Spence Shines Brighter Than Any Diamond – American Idol 2021Willie Spence has conquered many challenges this past year and his American Idol audition wasn’t about to be one that he didn’t absolutely SLAY! After performing Rihanna’s “Diamonds” for Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan, Lionel gives Willie a standing ovation. Luke was all smiles during Willie’s audition, telling him that he didn’t want…2021-02-22T03:00:00Z

Spence blew the “American Idol” judges away during his first audition, which aired on ABC in early 2021. Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan were so impressed that they spent time talking with Spence about his dreams in what has become, in hindsight, a heartbreaking discussion about his future.

After giving Spence’s rendition of Rihanna’s “Diamonds” a standing ovation, Richie repeatedly said “unbelievable” and Bryan added, “You are a special, special human being.”

Perry then posed a serious question to Spence.

“So my question is…when you think about your future and you know the voice you have —  because, you know, it stops people in their tracks, this is the magic you have — in five years, what do you want it to look like in your wildest dreams if nothing was standing in your way?”

Spence answered, “I just want my voice to reach the world and just share my gift. Hopefully winning a Grammy one day. That’s where I see myself in five years.”

When Perry asked if he thought he could do it, he said, “It’s gonna take hard work, but I think I can do it.”

Bryan agreed, saying, “That Grammy is attainable, no doubt in my mind. I mean, you start singing…I see your lifetime, like I see it all! To watch somebody sing from a place that I strive to sing from — the purest place in the world and it just comes out of your heart and your brain.”

American Idol’s social media accounts posted a tribute to Spence on the morning of October 12, stating, “We are devastated about the passing of our beloved American Idol family member, Willie Spence. He was a true talent who lit up every room he entered and will be deeply missed. We send our condolences to his loved ones.”

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