Sunday, June 16

‘American Idol’ alum Mandisa cause of death revealed; singer ‘did not hurt herself,’ says dad

“American Idol” alum Mandisa’s cause of death has been revealed. 

Speaking to Fox News Digital on Wednesday, the Grammy Award winner’s father, John Hundley, confirmed his daughter died of natural causes

“The [autopsy] report confirmed the comments I made at her home-going celebration, ‘Mandisa did not harm herself,'” Hundley said. “It was a natural death associated with obesity.”

According to an autopsy report obtained by People magazine, the singer died of complications of class III obesity at age 47. The report said the star was found dead in her home by friends on April 18, and that she “was last known alive approximately three weeks” earlier. Her manner of death is listed as natural.


According to the Cleveland Clinic, class III obesity is a “complex chronic disease in which a person has a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher or a BMI of 35 or higher and is experiencing obesity-related health conditions.”

Shortly after her death, friends and family gathered at Brentwood Baptist Church in Nashville to honor and celebrate Mandisa’s life. 

During the ceremony, Hundley spoke about what he thought may have happened to his daughter. 


“But here’s what I think happened,” Hundley said during the ceremony. “Mandisa fell down in her bedroom. They found her on the floor. If you look from the rear of her bed, she was laying on the left side. It’s clear that’s where she was laying, there was a couple of big rugs there and some clothes. On the right side of the bed, front, was this nightstand. I found her phone on the right side of the bed. There was no way for Mandisa to get around the bed, go out there and get a phone to call for help.

“She did not harm herself,” he added. “As she said, Mandisa loved the Lord and the Lord loved Mandisa. So there’s one thing you may not have known. She told me some time ago that she had gotten COVID-19, and she had been weak trying to get over that. But she was trying to press through. We talked so much on Easter morning, but I thought she was going to this conference, and so I had not called her recently, but I’ve talked to her a lot. May she rest in peace now.”

While his remarks received mixed reactions, Hundley told Fox News Digital at the time that he’s trying to move forward in a way Mandisa would have wanted. 

“Some people criticize me for talking,” he said. “They said I should be grieving more. I am. The first few nights, I’ll tell you, it was hard. I couldn’t sleep. Last night was the first night that I’ve gotten six or five hours of sleep. I’ve been grieving.”

“I believe that she’s happy, and I’m trying to be happy like she would be,” he added. “I have forced myself to be happy and not cry. I made the wrong statement at the homegoing service. I said, ‘I know men aren’t supposed to cry.’ I know that that’s a belief that some people have. I don’t know if men are not supposed to cry because I cry all the time.”

For years, Mandisa had struggled with her weight and the trauma of being raped at 16 years old. 


“When that happened at 16, it was like a floodgate opened. I started to eat and eat and eat. I think I was sort of shielding myself off from anybody else that could harm me,” she said during an interview with CBN in 2007.

That same year, Mandisa released her first album, “True Beauty,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Top Christian Albums charts and No. 43 on the Billboard charts, a rare feat for a Christian artist.

In 2022, Mandisa released a memoir, “Out of the Dark: My Journey Through the Shadows to Find God’s Joy,” detailing her struggles with depression.

That year, during an appearance on “Good Morning America,” she said, “My dream is that this book will be a tool used in living rooms and coffee shops all over the world to help prompt discussions about our mental health.”

Fox News Digital’s Elizabeth Stanton contributed to this post.


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