‘American Idol’ Star Mandisa Has Died At 47

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Mandisa Lynn Hundley, an American Idol alum and Grammy award winner, has died at the age of 47.

Hundley, known professionally by Mandisa, was found deceased in her Nashville home Thursday (April 18). Her team released a statement Friday morning confirming her death, saying:

“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.”

Mandisa’s father also confirmed the news to TMZ, saying that her passing was sudden and unexpected. He added that the cause of her death is unknown as she had no known health issues prior to her death.

Who was Mandisa?

Mandisa competed on American Idol‘s fifth season, which aired in 2006. The singer’s audition was one of the show’s most memorable due to how she handled Simon Cowell’s criticism of her weight. After Mandisa left the audition room, Cowell asks production if they got a “bigger stage this year.”

When Mandisa returned to face the judges during Hollywood week, she addressed Simon and told him that he hurt her feelings and made her cry.

“A lot of people want me to say a lot of things to you. But this is what I want to say to you,” Mandisa told Simon. “Yes, you hurt me and I cried. It was painful. But, I want you to know that I’ve forgiven you. And that you don’t need someone to apologize in order for forgive somebody. I figure that if Jesus could die so that all of my wrongs could be forgiven, I can certainly extend that same grace to you.”

She competed alongside Kellie Pickler, Katherine McPhee, Chris Daughtry, and season winner, Taylor Hicks. Mandisa ultimately placed 9th and went on to become one of the show’s success stories in the contemporary Christian music arena.

Following her American Idol run, Mandisa released her first full-length album, True Beauty. The album became the first one released by a new female artist to top the Top Christian Albums charts in the history of the chart.

Her first single release, “Only The World,” hit No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard Hot Singles Sales chart, a rare feat for a Christian artist. Chart and sales success continued with Mandisa’s subsequent albums with her fourth studio album, Overcomer, earning a coveted Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album.