Mandisa, Grammy-winning singer and ‘American Idol’ alum, dies at 47


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Mandisa, a contemporary Christian singer who appeared on “American Idol” and won a Grammy for her 2013 album ‘Overcomer’, has died. She was 47.

A representative for the singer told The Associated Press that the singer was found dead in her home in Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday. The representative said the cause of Mandisa’s death was not yet known.

Mandisa, whose full name was Mandisa Lynn Hundley, was born near Sacramento, California, and grew up singing in church. She gained stardom after finishing ninth on “American Idol” in 2006.

As she left, host Ryan Seacrest told the singer that she was “a great spirit on the show.”

Mandisa moved on, releasing her debut album in 2007 called “True Beauty,” which received a Grammy nomination that year for best pop and contemporary gospel album.

She went on to release five more albums, including a Christmas album.

In 2014, she won a Grammy for best contemporary Christian music album for “Overcomer,” her fifth album.

Mandisa spoke openly about her struggles with depression, releasing a memoir entitled “Out of the Dark: My Journey Through the Shadows to Find God’s Joy” in 2022 that detailed her experiences with severe depression, weight-related challenges, the coronavirus pandemic and her faith.

On Friday, the Christian radio network K-Love paid tribute to the singer on social media, saying: “Mandisa struggled, and she was vulnerable enough to share that with us, which helped us talk about our own struggles.”

Don Moen, a singer/songwriter and producer of Christian worship music, issued a statement expressing shock at Mandisa’s death and describing how she was “a powerhouse of a talent” who exhibited kindness without drawing attention to herself.

“On one particular tour, notes kept appearing in everyone’s bunk on the bus or in their instrument cases,” he recalled. “These were encouraging messages like: ‘You are blessed and highly favored,’ or ‘You’re such a blessing on this tour.’ Only at the end of the tour did we discover it had been Mandisa.”

Added singer-songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman on X: “Heartbroken over the loss of this beautiful soul. Her voice, her heart, her joy will be missed by us all this side of Heaven.”

Author and Bible teacher Beth Moore expressed her appreciation in a post on X for Mandisa, who noted on her blog that she spent five years as a member of artist Travis Cottrell’s worship team during Moore’s Living Proof Live events.

“I have never known a more beautiful woman in every possible way than Mandisa,” said Moore. “Our only consolation in this terrible loss is having gotten the privilege to serve with her so many times and love her deeply. I will forever recall the event when I said to Travis, oh my gosh, we’ll never be able to keep her. She will spring from this nest and fly to a much larger stage. And, boy, did she.”

Adelle M. Banks contributed to this report.

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