Mandisa's Cause of Death Revealed after Grammy-Winning Christian Singer Died at 47

Seven weeks removed from her passing, the cause of death of Grammy-winning singer Mandisa was revealed Tuesday. Mandisa Lynn Hundley was found dead in her home on April 18, sparking a flurry of rumors that her father addressed during the funeral by telling the audience, "She did not harm herself." On Tuesday, the official cause of death was released, revealing that Mandisa died from complications of class III obesity, The Tennessean reported. Dr. Feng Li, a medical examiner, told the paper that her cause of death was listed as natural. Class III obesity, according to the Cleveland Clinic, 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."

When she died, Mandisa was 47. She was known for positive, upbeat songs such as Overcomer and Stronger, which became life anthems for her fans. 

The K-Love Fan Awards aired a special tribute to her and another CCM artist, Gabe Patillo, last week. Colton Dixon and Danny Gokey introduced the tribute. 

In 2022, she released a book, Out of the Dark: My Journey Through the Shadows to Find God's Joy, where she opened up about her battle with depression. She also co-hosted the Out of the Dark podcast with Mandisa and Laura Williams. Her openness about her bouts with depression led to rumors that the cause of death was self-harm. Her father, though, rejected such rumors. 

"Mandisa loved the Lord, and the Lord loved Mandisa," John Hundley, Mandisa's father, said during the April service at Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tennessee.

In 2022, she told Crosswalk Headlines she wrote her book, Out of the Dark, hoping it would spark an open discussion among Christians about mental health. 

"Ultimately," she said, "Psalm 40:3 is my prayer for it. 'As many will hear what God has done, they will be amazed and put their hope in Him.' As people read it, it will encourage others to take steps on their mental health journey because so many of us are walking through it. And I hope it will encourage people to walk through it with God and not try to do it alone."

Her lively demeanor and commanding vocals propelled her to a Top 9 finish in the 2006 version of American Idol, after which she found a home in contemporary Christian music. Her debut album, True Beauty, soared to No. 1 on the Billboard Christian album charts, as did her last two albums, Overcomer and Out of the Dark

"She loved the Word and poured her heart out in worship," said Sydni Simons, a friend who toured with Mandisa as a dancer. "She was passionate about unity, and she was intentional about diversity."

During the funeral, author and speaker Beth Moore joked that Mandisa "hit a note so high, it gave us all a nosebleed." Mandisa sang during the Living Proof conferences where Moore spoke. 

"Every word, whether sung or spoken, hit a resonant chord with her audience, and she loved Jesus in a way that made everyone around her want to love Him," Moore said. "... We saw her life and her love for Jesus. We witnessed her worship when no one was looking. We would see her in the back of an events center or a sanctuary, dancing before the Lord."

Her father said his favorite song by his daughter was Bleed the Same. The lyrics, he said, "are asking you and me, all Americans, to come together in unity and get along."

Mandisa won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album for Overcomer.

Related: 4 Things Mandisa Reveals about Her Battle with Depression in Her Book, 'Out of the Dark'

Photo Credit: ©KLove Books


Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.