Now Reading
‘American Idol,’ Gospel Star Mandisa Dies at 47

‘American Idol,’ Gospel Star Mandisa Dies at 47

Mandisa, the Grammy Award-winning gospel singer who got her start as a contestant on season 5 of American Idol, died on Thursday, April 18 at the age of 47 in her Nashville home.

“We can confirm that yesterday Mandisa was found in her home deceased,” her representative confirmed to The Tennessean. “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.”

David Pierce, the chief media officer of Christian radio network K-Love, also commented on Mandisa on social media.

“Mandisa loved Jesus, and she used her unusually extensive platform to talk about Him at every turn,” wrote David Pierce, chief media officer of K-Love. “Her kindness was epic, her smile electric, her voice massive, but it was no match for the size of her heart. 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. We’re praying for Mandisa’s family and friends and ask you to join us.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by K-LOVE (@kloveradio)

Born Mandisa Lynn Hundley, the singer auditioned for American Idol in 2005, becoming a fan favorite among other contestants like Katharine McPhee, Kellie Pickler, Chris Daughtry and eventual winner Taylor Hicks. She advanced to the top nine contestants before being eliminated. During her run, she sang hits like “I’m Every Woman,” “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing,” “Any Man of Mine,” “Shackles (Praise You)” and more.

Post-American Idol, Mandisa released her first album, True Beauty, in 2007, which featured the hit single, “Only the World.” She received Grammy nominations for best pop/contemporary gospel album for True Beauty and Freedom (2009), and for contemporary Christian music album for What if We Were Real (2011). In 2013, she won a Grammy for her fourth album, Overcomer.

In 2022, Mandisa began to speak out about her struggles with fame and mental health throughout her career. In her memoir Out of the Dark: My Journey Through the Shadows to Find God’s Joy, the singer detailed her experience with depression and anxiety following the loss of a close friend to cancer, which she referred to as her “deep dark” period. During that time, Mandisa turned to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Eventually, her mental health sank so low she contemplated suicide.

“I was so miserable; I felt so hopeless,” she wrote. “I am a woman of faith, and I believe that heaven is real, and when I do leave here, I’m going to be in heaven with Jesus. One of the things I started hearing during that dark period was: ‘You’re in so much pain. If you take your life, you could be in heaven right now with Jesus.’”

After an intervention from her friends, Mandisa was able to get help and take control of her mental health. She credited her friends with helping her out of that darkness.

“During my life I’ve been drawn into friendships with all types of people — some very different from me,” said Mandisa. “My tribe has included men, women, single people, married people with kids, millennials, more ‘seasoned’ folks, and every age in between. … You learn so much and become a richer person by surrounding yourself with people who are different from you. As I’ve walked through hard things in my life, I’ve sometimes been surprised by the people God has used to comfort and help me. At times I get to be there for them too. That’s what it’s all about.”

Many of those friends also included collaborations with other Christian and Gospel artists, including TobyMac, Michael W. Smith, Jordan Feliz, Jon Reddick, Kirk Franklin and Matthew West.

“The darkness felt a little less dark,” she wrote. “I could see a small flicker. Light was beginning to break through.”

© 2023 RELEVANT Media Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Scroll To Top

You’re reading our ad-supported experience

For our premium ad-free experience, including exclusive podcasts, issues and more, subscribe to

Plans start as low as $2.50/mo