Mandisa, 'American Idol' and gospel star, dies

FILE-"American Idol" Season 5 -Top 20 Finalist, Mandisa Hundley of Antioch, Tennessee, performs. (Photo by Jason Merritt/FilmMagic for Fox Television Network)

Mandisa, a gospel singer who began her singing career as a contestant on "American Idol," has died. She was 47.

The singer's father, John Hundley, confirmed her death to Fox News Digital, saying that her death was a "total shock."

The singer's death is unknown at this time, FOX News reported.  Mandisa Lynn Hundley was a contestant on season five of "American Idol" which aired in 2006. 

During her time on "American Idol," Hundley was known not only for her outstanding vocals, but also for an inspiring speech she gave to judge Simon Cowell. After her audition, Cowell made remarks about her weight, and later in the process she confronted him about his comments in a conversation with him and his fellow judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, FOX News reported. 

Cowell immediately gave her a hug, telling her that he felt "humbled," then noting he felt "one millimeter small." His comments helped inspire the name of her first album. 

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She made it to the top nine in the music competition show, and a year later, she released her first full-length album, titled "True Beauty."

The Christian artist would win best contemporary Christian Music Album for "Overcomer" at the 56th Grammy Awards in 2014, The Tennessean reported.

In 2022, she released a memoir called "Out of the Dark: My Journey Through the Shadows to Find God's Joy," FOX News noted. 

The book's publisher, K-Love, released a statement on her death via David Pierce, the organization's chief media officer.

Hundley was born in Citrus Heights, California, and attended Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. She went on to earn a bachelor's degree in music from the university. 

FOX News contributed to this report.  This story was reported from Washington, D.C.