Jennifer Hudson pays tribute to 'bright light' Mandisa

Jennifer Hudson hailed the late Mandisa a 'bright light' credit:Bang Showbiz
Jennifer Hudson hailed the late Mandisa a 'bright light' credit:Bang Showbiz

Jennifer Hudson has hailed the late 'American Idol' star Mandisa "a bright light" who left a "powerful imprint on this world".

The gospel singer – who was a star of the fifth series of the US talent show before going on to win a Grammy – passed away aged just 47 last Thursday (18.04.24) at her home in Nashville.

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

She wrote on Instagram alongside an old photograph of the pair: "Broke my heart when I heard the news!

"She was truly a woman of faith. A bright light that made such a powerful imprint on this world. Rest in heaven, Mandisa!"

Christian rock radio station K-Love announced her death, but a cause for her passing is unknown.

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

He added: “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.”

Born and raised in California, Mandisa Lynn Hundley gained fame when she hit back at notoriously critical ‘American Idol’ judge Simon Cowell, 64, by heaping kindness on him when she appeared on the show in 2006.

She made it to the season’s Top 10 and went on to release her debut album ‘True Beauty’ in 2007 – becoming a Christian radio staple after the release of her tunes ‘Stronger’, ‘Good Morning’ and ‘My Deliverer’.

She said in her 2022 ‘Out of the Dark’ autobiography traumas she endured as a teenager included being raped and mental health battles.

Mandisa at one point considered suicide but was saved from the brink by friends who staged an intervention and forced her to go to therapy, in addition to relying on prayer.

She said: “I went to counselling as a result of their intervention. And who knew that talking about these things, it’s actually good and healthy for you? It’s not a sign of weakness.

“In the same way that if you have a physical ailment, you would go and see a doctor, I’ve come to appreciate counsellors.

“These are professionals to help you deal with some things that are easy to sweep under the rug.

“So, through my counselling journey, which has continued, it’s helping me to talk about difficult issues… that I’m forcing myself to face.”