Mandisa, American Idol Star, Dead At 47

The following article includes discussion of depression and suicidal thoughts.

Gospel singer Mandisa died on April 18 at 47 years old. She was found dead at her home in Nashville, but no details were offered at the time of her death. "We can confirm that yesterday Mandisa was found in her home deceased," a rep for the singer told People. "At this time we do not know the cause of death or any further details," they added.

Mandisa's career took off in 2006 when she made the top 10 in Season 5 of "American Idol," as one of the contestants fans wanted to win it all. Afterwards, she was able to parlay that exposure into a singing career. Her first album "True Beauty" came out that same year, and she released five more albums ending with 2017's "Out of the Dark." Along the way, four of Mandisa's albums were nominated for Grammys.

The title of Mandisa's last album "Out of the Dark," was a reference to a particularly hard time in her life. In April 2017, the singer spoke about her struggles with depression following the death of a close friend a few years earlier. "It got pretty bad — to the point where if I had not gotten off that road I would not be sitting here today," she said on "Good Morning America" at the time.

Mandisa's heartbreaking past

Five years after opening up about mental health issues following her friend's death, Mandisa spoke about just how bad her depression became during that tumultuous time. "Before I knew it, I was miserable and hopeless ... I stayed in my house for two years, essentially, just eating and getting worse and worse," she told Faith Wire in March 2022. Mandisa revealed that she contemplated suicide at the time. "I'm thankful I didn't [take my life]," she added.

Sadly, the issues for the "My Deliverer" singer were not isolated to the time around her friend's death. Years earlier, in 2011, Mandisa spoke about her issues with weight gain, and how that was tied to a traumatic childhood. "I'm going to a Christian counselor, who has helped me to realize that the root of my weight gain was about the abuse I had when I was a child," she told The Denver Post. She eventually wrote a book about her trials which seemed to help. 

By 2022, it appeared that Mandisa had a good handle on her mental wellness, and part of that was the therapeutic exercise of writing her book titled "Out of the Dark: My Journey Through the Shadows to Find God's Joy." Before the book's release, the gospel singer apparently hit another difficult patch. "I talk a lot about depression in this book ... and just the difficulties that I've faced — especially in the last couple of years," she said on "Good Morning America" at the time.

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