‘American Idol’ Alum and Grammy Winning Singer Mandisa Dead at 47

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
April 19, 2024Entertainment
‘American Idol’ Alum and Grammy Winning Singer Mandisa Dead at 47
Mandisa speaks to the press during at the 2nd Annual K-LOVE Fan Awards at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tenn., on June 1, 2014. (Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)

Mandisa Lynn Hundley, a Grammy-winning singer who rose to fame as a finalist on the TV show “American Idol,” died on April 18. She was 47.

“We can confirm that yesterday Mandisa was found in her home deceased,” a relative of the singer said in an April 19 statement on the singer’s verified Instagram account.

“At this time, we do not know the cause of death or any further details,” the statement read. “We ask for your prayers for her family and close-knit circle of friends during this incredibly difficult time.”

It added that the singer was “a voice of encouragement and truth to people facing life’s challenges all around the world.”

Speaking to TMZ, Ms. Hundley’s father said she didn’t suffer from health issues before she died and her death was unexpected and a total shock to the family.

Ms. Hundley, known professionally as Mandisa, was born and raised in Citrus Heights, California. She later moved to Nashville and studied vocal performance in college.

In 2005, she auditioned for season five of “American Idol” in Chicago and finished in ninth place.

About a year after she was eliminated from the show, Ms. Hundley went on to release her first album, “True Beauty,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Top Christian Albums charts—a historic feat that made the singer the first new female artist ever to debut on the top of the chart’s 27-year history.

The album also debuted at No. 43 on the Billboard 200, surprisingly high for a Christian artist. It also earned Ms. Hundley her first Grammy nomination for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album.

In 2014, she won the Best Contemporary Christian Music Album for “Overcomer” at the 56th Grammy Awards, making her the fifth “American Idol” alum to have won a Grammy Award.


Tributes from fellow musicians poured in on social media after they heard of the singer’s death, highlighting Ms. Hundley’s Christian faith and her influence on the music industry.

“Thankful for your music, your honesty, and testimony that helped thousands upon thousands of people find the hope of Jesus,” fellow Christian singer Natalie Grant said in a tribute on Instagram.

“I loved your laugh. You were a true beauty inside and out. There will be a hole in the heart of our community that will never be filled until we see you again,” Ms. Grant added.

David Pierce, the chief media officer of Christian radio station K-LOVE, also remembered Ms. Hundley in a tribute on Instagram.

“Mandisa loved Jesus, and she used her unusually extensive platform to talk about Him at every turn. Her kindness was epic, her smile electric, her voice massive, but it was no match for the size of her heart,” Mr. Pierce said.

“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. While we are saddened, Mandisa is home,” he added.

In a 2017 interview with “Good Morning America” on ABC News, Ms. Hundley opened up about her struggles with depression, saying she contemplated suicide after her friend died of cancer. However, it’s not clear whether her past battle with depression is related to her sudden death.

“It got pretty bad—to the point where if I had not gotten off that road I would not be sitting here today,” she told “Good Morning America,” adding her friend’s death “shook the foundation underneath me in a way that I didn’t expect.”

“It almost happened,” she continued. “But God is what I say, he saved my life quite literally.”

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.