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Died: Mandisa, ‘Overcomer’ Singer and American Idol Star

The Grammy-winning artist was found dead at her home in Nashville at age 47.
Died: Mandisa, ‘Overcomer’ Singer and American Idol Star
Image: Paras Griffin / Getty Images for AFFIRM Films A Sony Company

Grammy Award-winning contemporary Christian singer Mandisa Lynn Hundley, a former Lifeway Christian Resources employee and top-10 American Idol finisher, was found dead Thursday at her Nashville home, her publicist announced on social media.

No cause of death was given.

“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,” according to an official notice posted April 19 on the official X account of the performer known simply as Mandisa.

“We ask for your prayers for her family and closeknit circle of friends during this incredibly difficult time.”

Before finishing in the ninth spot on American Idol’s fifth season in 2005, Mandisa worked for Lifeway as a telephone customer service representative from 2000 to 2003, Lifeway told Baptist Press.

She partnered with the Lifeway women’s ministry team, performing and leading worship at some events, and later performed at Living Proof Live events.

“Our team at Lifeway is heartbroken to hear of the passing of our friend and former co-worker,” Lifeway CEO Ben Mandrell told Baptist Press. “Her teammates recall the joy and kindness she brought to work every day. Our heartfelt prayers are with her family.”

Lakisha Mitchell, the late wife of Southern Baptist pastor Breonus Mitchell, inspired Mandisa’s hit “Overcomer,” the title song of the album that garnered a 2014 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album. Breonus Mitchell, senior pastor of Mount Gilead Baptist Church in Hermitage, Tennessee, remarried in 2018.

“Obviously we are saddened by her transitioning,” he told Baptist Press. “Mandisa was just a bright light, a bright witness. She was true to her faith, even though she dealt with the depression and the issues with Kisha’s transitioning, she’d just rebound. And I think that song ‘Overcomer’ and her work just epitomize her life, how she’s just been this big overcomer of so many issues.”

Lakisha’s death from breast cancer in 2014 after the album’s success caused Mandisa to spiral into a deep and lengthy depression, which she overcame. But she continued to struggle with her mental health, sharing her issues publicly and in her 2022 book, Out of the Dark: My Journey Through the Shadows to Find God’s Joy.

“She’s just been a tremendous overcomer,” Mitchell said of Mandisa. “The Scriptures say we sorrow not as those who have no hope, and this is the hope we have, that even in the midst of death there is life. We’re saddened, but at the same time celebrate another young life, but a life well-lived.”

Overcomer also snagged Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year at the 2014 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards. Its lead single was certified as a platinum hit by the Recording Industry Association of America and was the title song of the Kendrick Brothers’ 2019 movie by the same title.

The Fisk University graduate sang with the Fisk Jubilee Singers while earning her baccalaureate.

Her 2007 debut album True Beauty gained her first Grammy Award nomination, leading the Top Christian Album chart and rising to No. 43 on the Billboard 200 Album chart.

Many lamented her death.

“Mandisa loved Jesus, and she used her unusually extensive platform to talk about Him at every turn,” K-Love chief media officer David Pierce posted on X. “Her kindness was epic, her smile electric, her voice massive, but it was no match for the size of her heart.

“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.”

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