Grammy-winning American Idol star Mandisa dies aged 47

American Idol star and singer Mandisa Lynn Hundley has died at the age of 47.

The gospel artist, known mononymously as Mandisa, won a Grammy in the best contemporary Christian music album category for her 2013 record Overcomer.

She competed in 2006 on American Idol, when Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson were judges.

Cowell said he was “humbled” by Mandisa after she forgave him for making comments about her physical appearance.

In a statement to the PA news agency, Mandisa’s publicist said: “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.”

An Instagram post on her page also said: “Mandisa was a voice of encouragement and truth to people facing life’s challenges all around the world.”

The gospel singer had been outspoken about her depression, grief and loss in the 2022 memoir Out of the Dark: My Journey Through The Shadows To Find God’s Joy.

She was also Grammy-nominated for records including 2011’s What If We Were Real, 2009’s Freedom and 2007’s True Beauty.

After being selected at an audition for American Idol, Cowell joked to his fellow judges about Mandisa when she left the room.

He said: “Do we have a bigger stage this year?”

When Abdul said that Mandisa’s voice resembled Frenchie Davis, Cowell said she was more like the country of France.

Returning for the next stage of the competition, after seeing the episode on TV, Mandisa told Cowell: “You hurt me and I cried but I want you to know that I’ve forgiven you.”

He said: “Mandisa, I’m humbled, come here,” and embraced her.

Christian musician Matthew West, who collaborated with her on Christmas Makes Me Cry and Only The World, said on social media that he was “incredibly saddened to hear about the loss”.

“I will always cherish the memories of times we spent together hosting award shows, going on tour, and most of all helping her tell her story in the songwriting room,” he wrote.

West also said the words of Only The World, which feature the lyrics “Heaven is a place, where the tears on every face will be wiped away”, “hit different right now”.

American singer and American Idol star Danny Gokey wrote: “Devastated to hear about the sudden loss of Mandisa. Her joy was infectious & I loved her heart to encourage people on & off stage!

“When I made my debut in Christian music she was my greatest supporter. Mandisa you left too soon—our community will never be the same without you.”