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American Idol Gospel singer Mandisa dead at 47

Grammy-winning contemporary Christian singer Mandisa Lynn Hundley, a former top-10 American Idol finisher, was found dead Thursday in her Nashville home. She was 47. The announcement was made on social media, and no cause of death was given.

Mandisa’s father, John Hundley, confirmed her death, saying it was a shock.

Mandisa competed on season 5 of “American Idol,” which aired in 2006. She made it to the top nine in the music competition show. A year later, she released her first full-length album, “True Beauty.”

During her time on “American Idol,” she became known not only for her powerhouse vocals, but also for an inspiring speech she gave to judge Simon Cowell. After her audition, Cowell made remarks about her weight, and later in the process she confronted him about his comments in a conversation with him and his fellow judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson.


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“Simon, a lot of people want me to say a lot of things to you,” she began. “But this is what I want to say to you is that, yes, you hurt me, and I cried and it was painful. It really was. But I want you to know that I’ve forgiven you and that you don’t need someone to apologize in order to forgive somebody. I figure that if Jesus could die so that all of my wrongs could be forgiven, I can certainly extend that same grace to you.”

Lakisha Mitchell, the late wife of Southern Baptist pastor Breonus Mitchell, inspired Mandisa’s hit “Overcomer,” the title song of the album that garnered a 2014 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album. Breonus Mitchell, senior pastor of Mount Gilead Baptist Church in Hermitage, Tennessee, remarried in 2018.

“Obviously we are saddened by her transitioning,” he told Baptist Press. “Mandisa was just a bright light, a bright witness. She was true to her faith, even though she dealt with the depression and the issues with Kisha’s transitioning, she’d just rebound. And I think that song ‘Overcomer’ and her work just epitomize her life, how she’s just been this big overcomer of so many issues.”

Lakisha’s death from breast cancer in 2014 after the album’s success caused Mandisa to spiral into a deep and lengthy depression, which she overcame. But she continued to struggle with her mental health, sharing her issues publicly and in her 2022 book, Out of the Dark: My Journey Through the Shadows to Find God’s Joy.

“She’s just been a tremendous overcomer,” Mitchell said of Mandisa. “The Scriptures say we sorrow not as those who have no hope, and this is the hope we have, that even in the midst of death there is life. We’re saddened, but at the same time celebrate another young life, but a life well-lived.”

In 2022, she released a memoir called “Out of the Dark: My Journey Through the Shadows to Find God’s Joy.” The book’s publisher, K-Love, released a statement on her death via David Pierce, the organization’s chief media officer.

“Mandisa loved Jesus, and she used her unusually extensive platform to talk about Him at every turn,” he said. “Her kindness was epic, her smile electric, her voice massive, but it was no match for the size of her heart. Mandisa struggled, and she was vulnerable enough to share that with us, which helped us talk about our own struggles. Mandisa’s struggles are over. She is with the God she sang about now. While we are saddened, Mandisa is home. We’re praying for Mandisa’s family and friends and ask you to join us.”

-Metro Voice and wire services

-Photo from Mandisa Official Instagram

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