Christian singer Mandisa has died. The 47-year-old was found at her home in Nashville on Thursday (April 18). She finished ninth during Season 5 of American Idol in 2006.

While country music would prove to be her undoing on the Fox TV show, she'd recover and enjoy a successful career in music until her death.

  • Mandisa Hundley lived in Antioch, Tenn., when she performed on American Idol.
  • She was formerly a member of the Fisk Jubilee Singers.
  • In 2014, she won a Grammy in the Best Contemporary Christian Music Album category for Overcomer.

Mandisa's death was confirmed to several outlets by K-Love Chief Media Officer David Pierce, who led with the singer's love of Jesus.

"Her kindness was epic, her smile electric, her voice massive, but it was no match for the size of her heart," he tells Nashville's WKRN.

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TMZ also confirmed Mandisa's death with her father. No cause of death was revealed. In her 2022 memoir Out of the Dark: My Journey Through the Shadows to Find God's Joy, she opened up about trauma and rape from her teenage years and the mental health struggles she endured afterward.

In the book, she admits she considered suicide at one point, but was saved by friends. After this incident, she leaned hard into mental counseling.

"Mandisa struggled, and she was vulnerable enough to share that with us, which helped us talk about our own struggles," Pierce writes.

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.

Mandisa on American Idol

Mandisa's audition for American Idol (Alicia Keys, "Fallin'") is memorable for all the wrong reasons. She was good enough to advance, but judge Simon Cowell zoomed in on her weight, asking if they had a bigger stage to support her.

Later, judge Paula Abdul would compare her to a previous singer named Frenchie, to which Cowell would say a better comparison would be to the country of France.

During a somewhat staged moment afterward, Mandisa confronted Cowell and told him how he hurt her, she cried and it was painful. "But I want you to know I've forgiven you and that you don't need someone to apologize in order to forgive somebody," she said.

Cowell stood up, said he was humbled and the two shared a hug.

During the Top 9 round, Kenny Rogers mentored the contestants for country music night. Mandisa sang "Any Man of Mine" by Shania Twain, and the judging panel was far from positive.

"Weird song choice for me," Randy Jackson said. "At least at the end, the last four bars you got it together and showed some of that personality."

"I liked the four seconds after," Cowell added. "I thought the song was horrible."

She was the night's low vote-getter and was thus sent home. Season 5 was won by Taylor Hicks, with Kellie Pickler and Bucky Covington as notable country music acts.

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Gallery Credit: Billy Dukes

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