Grammy-winning American Idol season 5 star Mandisa dead at 47

Singer Mandisa, who reached the top 10 on American Idol season 5 and later became a Grammy-winning Christian artist, has died, ABC Audio has confirmed. She was 47.

“We can confirm that yesterday [April 18] Mandisa was found in her home deceased,” her rep said in a statement to ABC Audio. “At this time we do not know the cause of death or any further details. We ask for your prayers for her family and close knit circle of friends during this incredibly difficult time.”

Mandisa finished ninth on the American Idol season that was won by Taylor Hicks and also gave us Katharine McPhee, Chris Daughtry and Kellie Pickler. During her time on the show, Simon Cowell made cruel comments to her about her weight. She told him she forgave him, adding, “If Jesus could die so that all of my wrongs could be forgiven, I can certainly extend that same grace to you.” Cowell then apologized to her.

After her time on Idol, Mandisa released her debut album, True Beauty, in 2007. It debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Christian Albums chart and received a Grammy nomination — one of five nods she’d eventually receive. In 2014, her album Overcomer won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album. Her most recent album, Out of the Dark, came out in 2017.

In 2022, she released a memoir, also called Out of the Dark, in which she detailed her past trauma and mental health struggles.

In a statement, David Pierce, the chief media officer of K-Love, a Christian radio network, wrote on social media, “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.”

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