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On Wednesday we reported that singer Willie Spence, who came in second place on season 19 of American Idol last year, had been killed in a car crash at the age of 23; just minutes after posting a video in which he sang a Christian song in his vehicle. Now, some chilling new details about the specifics behind Spence’s death have been made public.

But first, check out what turned out to be Spence’s final performance below.

New Details About Spence’s Death

In the wake of the singer’s tragic death, Page Six has reported that Spence was driving on Interstate 24 East in Marion County, Tennessee on Tuesday afternoon when he attempted to exit the highway. Sadly, the 23 year-old then crashed into a tractor-trailer that was parked on the shoulder; though he was wearing a seatbelt, the American Idol runner-up did not survive. The driver of the tractor trailer escaped uninjured, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s report on the incident.

American Idol released a statement honoring Spence, who came in second behind Chayce Beckham.

“We are devastated about the passing of our beloved ‘American Idol’ family member, Willie Spence,” the singing competition said. “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.”

Related: ‘American Idol’ Favorite Willie Spence Dead At 23 – Sings Christian Song Seconds Before Death In Viral Video

‘American Idol’ Judges Honor Spence

American Idol judges Judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie each publicly honored Spence after his death was announced. Perry described him as the “purest soul” in a comment posted under the singing show’s official Instagram account, adding, “I love you Willie. … Sing with the angels my darling.”

Bryan took to Twitter to pay tribute to Spence, writing, “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.”

As for Richie, he said he was “blessed” to have gotten to know Spence.

“Your light will always shine in this world,” he stated. “My thoughts and prayers are with Willie’s family. Rest well my friend.”

Related: Former “American Idol” Contestant Caleb Kennedy Arrested For Fatal DUI Crash

Chayce Beckham Pays Tribute To Spence

Beckham, who beat Spence to take the title on season 19 of American Idol, took to Instagram to pay a lengthy tribute to his runner-up.

“It’s hard to find the words to say here, other than I loved Willie very much,” Beckham wrote alongside a slideshow of some clips and photos from their time on the show. “He was a good sweet soul, and a warm beam of light in a cold and dark world that needed him so much. When willie sang I swear it would shake a whole room. 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,” he added. “His larger than life energy was infectious 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.”


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A post shared by Chayce Beckham (@chaycebeckhammusic)

While it’s sad to lose anybody, it’s particularly devastating when someone is taken from this Earth as young as Spence was. As we all struggle to make sense of this loss, we can find comfort in the fact that Spence is with God now. 

Please join us in saying a prayer for Spence’s family during this difficult time.

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