Jennifer Hudson pays tribute to ‘bright light’ Mandisa

Jennifer Hudson hailed late ‘American Idol’ star Mandisa as “a bright light” who left “a powerful mark on this world.”

The gospel singer – who was the star of the fifth series of the American talent show before winning the Grammy – died at her home in Nashville last Thursday (18.04.24) aged just 47.

And following the sad news, the 42-year-old singer, who rose to fame as a finalist on the third season of the reality series in 2004, shared a touching tribute to Mandisa.

She wrote on Instagram alongside a throwback photo of the pair: “I’m heartbroken when I heard this news!

“She was truly a woman of faith. A bright light who left such a powerful mark on this world. Rest in heaven, Mandisa!”

Christian rock radio station K-Love announced his death, but the cause of his demise is unknown.

The broadcast network’s chief media officer David Pierce said in a statement on Friday (19.04.24) that Mandisa’s struggle was “over”.

He added: “Mandisa struggled, and she was so vulnerable that she shared it with us, which helped us talk about our struggles.

“Mandisa’s struggle is over. He is now with the God he sang about. While we are sad, Mandisa is home. We are praying for Mandisa’s family and friends and ask you to join us.

Born and raised in California, Mandisa Lynn Hundley shot to fame when she turned on notorious ‘American Idol’ judge Simon Cowell by pitying him, 64, when he appeared on the show in 2006.

She made the season’s top 10 and released her debut album ‘True Beauty’ in 2007 – becoming a Christian radio staple following the release of her tunes ‘Stronger’, ‘Good Morning’ and ‘My Deliverer’.

She said in her 2022 autobiography ‘Out of the Dark’ that the traumas she faced as a teenager included rape and mental health battles.

At one point Mandisa contemplated suicide, but friends intervened and saved her and forced her to go to therapy, in addition to relying on prayer.

She said: “I went to counseling as a result of their intervention. And who knew that talking about these things was actually good and healthy for you? This is not a sign of weakness.

“In the same way that if you have a physical illness, you would go and see a doctor, I appreciate counselors.

“These are professionals to help you deal with some of the things that can be easily hidden.

“So, through my counseling journey, which is ongoing, it’s helping me talk about the difficult issues… that I’m forcing myself to confront.”