The general American Idol account Instagram shared a video from his audition with Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan and Katy Perry. “We are devastated about the passing of our beloved American Idol family member, Willie Spence,” the show’s account captioned the video of the runner-up for the 2021 season. “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.”
Idol also shared its condolence post to Twitter, which Bryan replied to with his deepest sympathies. “Willie really did light up every room he walked into. He could change the mood instantly when he started singing. He will truly be missed,” the country singer wrote.
Richie also shared his sadness and posted a video of the late star performing Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” on American Idol. “Your light will always shine in this world. We were so blessed to get a chance to see you shine,” he captioned the video. “My thoughts and prayers are with Willie’s family. Rest well my friend.”
Perry acknowledged Spence’s passing on Instagram as well, sharing Idol‘s Instagram post to her Story, and responding to the show’s post in the comments. “I love you Willie… purest soul,” she wrote. “Sing with the angels my darling.”
Host Ryan Seacrest also addressed the loss. Like the “Firework” singer, he also shared the show’s post, this time on Twitter. “Everybody on and off set loved him,” he tweeted. “@Williespence you’ll be deeply missed.”
Idol alum Katharine McPhee-Foster first shared the news of Spence’s death via an Instagram Story on Tuesday, and revealed the 23-year-old singer had died in a car accident.
See the Idol cast’s reactions to Spence’s death below.