Late American Idol Runner-Up Willie Spence’s Family Pay Tribute To ‘Gentle Giant’ In Heartbreaking Statement

Willie Spence’s family is speaking out following his tragic death.

As you’ve likely heard, the American Idol Season 19 runner-up was driving down Interstate 24 on Tuesday when his car “exited the roadway” and crashed into the back of an 18-wheeler tractor-trailer truck. The crash killed him despite the fact that he was indeed wearing a seat belt, according to THP.

In the wake of his untimely death, Tony Paulk, mayor of Douglas, Georgia, Willie’s hometown, as well as the official American Idol social media pages, officially offered their condolences, both noting his kind-hearted nature and talent. Now, his family is speaking out, too. During a Wednesday press conference held at Willie’s grandmother’s home in Palm Beach County, Florida, the 23-year-old’s cousin Sabrena Cooper explained:

“Willie was our gentle giant. He had such a soft demeanor but a very, very powerful voice. When he opened his mouth and lifted the Lord in song, many would just stop in their tracks to listen to him. Now Willie is in heaven, singing the lead in the heaven’s choir.”

Related: New Details In The Death Of Basketball Wives Alum Brooke Bailey’s Daughter

Family members explained that at the time of his death, he was on his way to go meet with an organization to help fight against human trafficking. She added:

“This is a difficult time for all of us. We came to realize that Willie was not important to us but also important to the world. He has millions of fans who join him and enjoyed his voice, and while we want to mourn as a family in private, we realize our grief is not only ours but others as well.”

Willie’s father explained, “All I can say is this is like a dream. Like a bad dream,” adding:

“I will miss him. I will miss his voice.”

See more (below):

So sad. Our hearts go out to Willie’s family. Rest in peace.

[Images via American Idol & WPTV News – FL Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast/YouTube]

The post Late <i>American Idol</i> Runner-Up Willie Spence’s Family Pay Tribute To ‘Gentle Giant’ In Heartbreaking Statement appeared first on Perez Hilton.