X-Factor Star Freddie Combs Dies at 49

Freddie Combs, a minister known for singing on Season 2 of “The X-Factor,” died Sept. 10, according to a Cocoa, Fla. funeral home. He was 49.

Though he did not last on “The X-Factor” for long, Combs was a fan favorite. He auditioned in Greensboro, N.C., singing Bette Midler’s 1988 song “Wind Beneath My Wings” in front of celebrity judges Simon Cowell, Britney Spears, L.A. Reid and Demi Lovato. In his audition episode, which aired in 2012, he also shared his experiences with weight loss. In 2009, at 920 pounds, he had been hospitalized and near death. Exercise and a change in diet helped him lose close to 400 pounds by the time he appeared on “The X-Factor,” where he was escorted in a wheelchair by his wife Kay, who was his caretaker up until his death.

“My wife Kay, she’s an incredible woman. She started caring for me right after we were married in ’96, and as my weight rose, more things were required of her. She’s the closest thing to an angel and a saint that I know,” he said at the time.

“When I was bedridden and never came out of the house, my music was never heard,” he said. “My biggest dream would be to give hope to people who are my size so they can achieve their dreams. And I know people might think I would never have a chance, and maybe I don’t, but I hope the judges will look past my exterior and give a fat boy a chance.”

On the show, Cowell and Reid told Combs they would support him if he continued to lose weight.

TMZ reported that Combs died of kidney failure.

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