Talent Recap

Memorial Service Planned for ‘Idol’ Star Willie Spence Next Month

Willie SpenceABC/Eric McCandless

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A memorial service is being planned for American Idol Season 19 runner-up Willie Spence, who passed away in a car accident earlier this month at age 23. The event is scheduled for November 5, two days after a charity event where Spence was planning to perform.

Memorial Service Planned for Willie Spence

According to Heavy, a public viewing was held Thursday in West Palm Beach, Florida. A Celebration of Life concert is planned for Friday evening at Mount Calvary Baptist Church, with a memorial service Saturday morning, to be live streamed on the Bethe’l Family Worship Center Facebook page.

A public memorial is also being planned for November 5 in Douglas, Georgia. A time and location for the event have not yet been announced. In lieu of flowers, Spence’s family has asked for donations to the Official Willie Spence Memorial Fund.

The fund benefits Frontline Response. Spence was reportedly on his way to Atlanta to volunteer with the charity when he got into his fatal car accident in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The organization’s mission is “rescuing men and women out of sex trafficking and homelessness and preventing children from falling victim.”


Spence Was Planning to Perform at a Charity Gala

Frontline Response publicist Robin Derryberry told Heavy that Spence was planning to give a surprise performance at the charity’s Night of Hope Gala on November 3. The event will feature football player Tim Tebow as a keynote speaker.

Spence was also planning to perform in London on November 12 as the headlining act at a gospel concert called Willie Spence Live in London. Singers Lois Moodie, Emmanuel Smith, and more were also scheduled to appear.

The singer passed away on October 11 when his car hit a tractor-trailer on the side of the highway. Family sources have said they don’t believe alcohol was a factor in the accident, but have theorized that Spence may have fallen asleep at the wheel.

“Willie was our gentle giant,” Spence’s cousin Sabrina Cooper said of the singer. “He had such a soft demeanor but a very, very powerful voice. When he opened his mouth and lifted the Lord in song, many would just stop in their tracks to listen to him. Now Willie is in heaven, singing the lead in the heaven’s choir.”

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