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Celebration of Life Held for Mandisa, 'American Idol' Announces Televised Tribute

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A celebration of life was held in honor of award-winning Christian music artist Mandisa over the weekend. The nearly four-hour service was held at Brentwood Baptist Church near Nashville, TN.

“American Idol” is also planning to honor the late Christian singer, who was a contestant on the series in the early 2000s, in an episode slated to air Monday.

Mandisa — whose full name is Mandisa Hundley — passed away April 18 at 47. The “Overcomer” singer was found deceased in her home. Police reported last week that, while an official cause of death has not been disclosed, there was “no indication … of suspicious or criminal activity.”

During Sunday’s episode of “American Idol” on ABC, longtime host Ryan Seacrest, who worked with Mandisa during her time on the show, acknowledged the singer-songwriter’s untimely death. She finished ninth on the fifth season of the competition series in 2007 and went on to become a Dove-and Grammy-winning recording artist.

“Before we go to break, we wanted to take a moment to honor a dear member of the ‘Idol’ family who we sadly lost this week, Mandisa,” he said. “She was an inspiration during her time here on the show and beyond.”

After noting the series would celebrate Mandisa’s life with “a very special musical tribute” on April 29, Seacrest said, “Our hearts go out to her family and those, like us, who call her a friend.”

In an official statement following news of Mandisa’s death, the show said, “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.”

“American Idol” isn’t alone in planning to honor Mandisa’s legacy. Fisk University in Nashville, the singer-songwriter’s alma mater, is scheduled to host a memorial service at 7 p.m. Friday, according to The Tennessean. During her time at Fisk, Mandisa was a member of the Fisk Jubilee Singers.

A close friend and former Fisk roommate Caarne White organized the memorial service.

She said, “This is a Fisk friends and family event, where we are opening our doors to our student body, faculty, staff and alumni. It will be a lot of music, because that’s what we do at Fisk. There will be tributes to Mandisa, a lot of good memories and maybe some tears. We just wanted it to be open community time to share in the music and the personality of Mandisa.”

“I’ll be singing some Whitney Houston, because that was Mandisa’s favorite artist,” White added. “Disa was such a light. Whether we were performing or in class, or sharing emotions, she always had a Scripture. She always had a song. Her spirit was tenacious, and most people she came in contact with would say the same thing about her.”

An official celebration of life is scheduled for Saturday at Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tennessee, at 11 a.m., with visitation beforehand, from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m.

K-LOVE, the Christian radio network, first reported the news of the “Stronger” artist’s passing.

“Mandisa loved Jesus, and she used her unusually extensive platform to talk about Him at every turn,” said K-LOVE Chief Media Officer David Pierce. “Her kindness was epic, her smile electric, her voice massive, but it was no match for the size of her heart.”

In 2022, Mandisa released a memoir, “Out of the Dark,” in which she opened up about her struggles with things like anxiety, depression, doubt, and abuse and how the Lord met her in the midst of those circumstances.

At the time, she told CBN’s “Quick Start” she’s able to see now how God has “redeemed” some of those difficult seasons in her life, encouraging listeners to turn to the Psalms for encouragement.

“Look at the Psalms,” she said. “I mean, you see David one minute talking about how good God is and the next minute saying, ‘I want you to slaughter my enemies,’ and, ‘How could you allow this?’ … I have learned how important it is to say these things, because I think we miss the comfort that we get from God when we choose to just stuff it down and not say anything at all.”

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About The Author

Tré Goins-Phillips Headshot

Tré Goins-Phillips serves as a host and content creator for CBN News. He hosts the weekly “Faith vs. Culture” show and co-hosts “Quick Start,” a news podcast released every weekday morning. Born and raised in Virginia, Tré now lives along the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he has built his career, often traveling to meet and interview fascinating cultural influencers and entertainers. After working with brands like TheBlaze and Independent Journal Review, Tré began his career at CBN News in 2018 and has a particular passion for bridging the chasm between the secular world and the church