After American Idol

Former Idol contestant, Grammy winner Mandisa dies at 47


Mandisa, shown at the time of her Out of the Dark release in 2017, died Thursday at age 47.

Mandisa, shown at the time of her Out of the Dark release in 2017, died Thursday at age 47.

Mandisa, a former American Idol contestant and Grammy winner, was found dead in her Nashville home Thursday.

Mandisa was 47. She had been nominated for five Grammys and won for best Christian album in 2014 for “Overcomer.”

In doing so, she became just the fifth former Idol contestant to win a Grammy.

She finished ninth on Season 5 of Idol. Her Idol run was best remembered for Simon Cowell’s cruel quip about her weight, suggesting the show might need a bigger stage.

Mandisa later confronted him about his hurtful comments and said she had forgiven him.

The Media Collective, which represented Mandisa, confirmed her death. They indicated a cause was not known.

The statement: “We can confirm that yesterday Mandisa was found in her home deceased. At this time we do not know the cause of death or any further details. We ask for your prayers for her family and close knit circle of friends during this incredibly difficult time.”

The Tennessean reported Friday that a local police department confirmed an active death investigation at an address connected to Mandisa. Such investigations are common in the case of an unattended death.

American Idol also released a statement on social media, writing: “Mandisa was an adored icon on American Idol and in the music industry. She had become a platinum-selling artist and had won several Grammys for her music. Her passing has left everyone on the show heartbroken, and we extend our deepest condolences to her family.”

Fellow Christian artists and former Idol contestants Danny Gokey and Jasmine Murray toured with Mandisa and both wrote tributes to her on social media.

Danny Gokey on X: “Devastated to hear about the sudden loss of Mandisa. Her joy was infectious & I loved her heart to encourage people on & off stage! When I made my debut in Christian music she was my greatest supporter. Mandisa you left too soon—our community will never be the same without you.”

Jasmine on Instagram: “Disa, you will be missed so much by everyone who knew you because of your infectious laughter, your zeal for the Lord, your heart for people, and the beautiful gift of song that God allowed us all to witness. I am forever grateful for the gift of knowing you in this life and can’t wait to see you in heaven. I love you.” (Editor’s note: Please follow the link, it’s touching and much longer.)

Mandisa leaves behind a rich collection of Christian music.

She released four Christian albums, beginning with “True Beauty” in 2007 and all four cracked the Top 5 on the Christian albums chart.

The last two — “Overcomer” (2013) and “Out of the Dark” (2017) — hit number one.

And today, Mandisa has seven songs with more than 15 million streams on Spotify, a list topped by the title track to “Overcomer” with 44 million.

But in spite of her music success, she struggled with depression, especially after a friend died of cancer, shortly after giving birth, in 2014.

She retreated from the public eye before regaining her faith in God, a story she shared with the release of “Out of the Dark” and an accompanying memoir.

Mandisa last released music with a series of singles in 2021.

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  1. TiredofTripe April 20, 2024 at 8:32 pm -  Reply

    The only reason Mandisa placed ninth on “Idol” was because the producers made that week “Country.”

    The bottom three were all soul/R&B singers: Paris, Elliott, and Mandisa.

    The producers purposely chose a genre that was not only out of the range of all three singers, but to give the mediocre Top Ten finalist Bucky another week.

  2. Music Lover April 21, 2024 at 12:44 pm -  Reply

    Saddened to hear of this.

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