Luke Bryan Pays Tribute to Late American Idol Contestant Willie Spence

"He could change the mood instantly when he started singing."

Luke Bryan is honoring beloved “American Idol” star Willie Spence after he died on Tuesday Oct. 13 after a tragic accident.

Spence, season 19 runner-up, was involved in a car accident when he veered off a highway in Chattanooga, Tennessee and hit another vehicle that was stopped on the shoulder. He died just hours after he posted a video of himself singing a worship song to his half-million followers on social media. He was 23 years old.

The 46-year-old country singer took to Twitter to share a tribute celebrating Spence’s talents.

“Willie really did light up every room he walked into,” Bryan quote-tweeted a statement off of the official American Idol Twitter account. “He could change the mood instantly when he started singing. He will truly be missed.”

Following Bryan, other “American Idol” stars and judges shared their own tributes to honor the young singer.

Judge Lionel Richie posted Willie’s 2021 performance of Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” to Instagram. He captioned the video, “Your light will always shine in this world. We were so blessed to get a chance to see you shine. My thoughts and prayers are with Willie’s family. Rest well my friend.”

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Chayce Beckham, the winner of Spence’s season, fondly remembered his outgoing personality and gushed about his voice she swore could “shake a whole room.”

“When Willie sang I swear it would shake a whole room,” Beckham wrote in a post to Instagram. “I think Willie had a voice that God gave him specifically to spread his message, when Willie sang gospel it could make you cry.”

She continued, “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.”

In a comment under the American Idol’s Instagram tribute post to Spence, fellow judge Katy Perry shared her condolences.

“I love you Willie… purest soul. Sing with the angels my darling,” she commented.

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