KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Willie Spence, a talented singer who finished as the runner-up on American Idol last year, died Tuesday in a crash near Chattanooga. He was 23 years old.

According to a preliminary crash report from the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Spence was driving on eastbound I-24 around 4 p.m. when he crashed into a tractor-trailer that was stopped on the shoulder near Mile Marker 147.

The crash occurred in Marion County. Both drivers were wearing seatbelts, the crash report states.

The Dunwoody, Georgia native finished in second place on season 19 of American Idol which aired in 2021. According to the artist’s Instagram, he was set to perform in London, England for the first time next month.

The show released a statement on social media, calling Spence a “true talent who lit up every room he entered.”

Actress and singer-songwriter Katharine McPhee, another American Idol runner-up who mentored Spence during his run to the final stages of the competition, posted a tribute to Spence on social media late Tuesday.

“I received very tragic news tonight,” She wrote. “@williespenceofficial passed away in a car accident. Only 23 years old. Life is so unfair and nothing is ever promised. God rest your soul Willie. It was a pleasure to sing with you and to know you.”

According to Spence’s official Instagram account, he was scheduled to perform Nov. 12 in London. It would have been his first performance there.