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‘American Idol’ contestant remembers Willie Spence, says he was destined for stardom

GEORGIA — Just hours before he was killed, Willie Spence was still singing.

The beloved singer from Georgia posted a song to Instagram, not long before he died on Tuesday.

“I heard the news this morning and I was just devastated,” said Spence’s friend Alex Miller.

Miller said that he became friends with Spence while competing against him on last year’s season of “American Idol.”

“He was such a talent,” said Miller. “A very, very nice man and I just hate that his life has been cut short like this.”

Spence finished season 19 of “American Idol” as runner-up.

Just before the show’s finale, he said he nearly died in 2020, when he weighed 600 pounds.

“The doctors were shocked. They were shocked that I was still able to walk,” said Spence at the time. “And since then that made me look at life totally different.”

But on Tuesday, Spence’s life ended at the young age of 23, when police said his car slammed into the back of a vehicle parked on the shoulder on interstate 24 near Chattanooga.

The details of what led up to the accident are still unclear, but Miller said it was clear that Spence was destined to be a star.

“There is no doubt that Willie Spence was heading towards pop radio and heading towards being a really big star,” said Miller.

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