Mandisa's Cause of Death Revealed After Grammy-Winning “American Idol ”Alum Died at 47

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The soulful vocalist finished in the top 9 on season 5 of 'American Idol' and later earned a Grammy in 2014 for her 'Overcomer' album

<p>Jason Kempin/Getty Images</p> Mandisa in Nashville in October 2018

Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Mandisa in Nashville in October 2018
  • Singer and American Idol alum Mandisa, 47, died of complications of class III obesity

  • She was found dead in her home by friends on April 18

  • Her manner of death is listed as natural

Mandisa's cause of death has been revealed.

The Grammy winner and American Idol alum died of complications of class III obesity at age 47, according to an autopsy reported obtained by PEOPLE.

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.

Class III obesity is a 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," according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Related: Mandisa, American Idol Star and Grammy-Winning Singer, Dead at 47: 'We Ask for Your Prayers' 

<p>Paras Griffin/Getty Images </p> Mandisa in Atlanta in August 2019

Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Mandisa in Atlanta in August 2019

A rep for Mandisa confirmed her death to PEOPLE in a statement on April 19. "We can confirm that yesterday Mandisa was found in her home deceased," they wrote. "At this time we do not know the cause of death or any further details. We ask for your prayers for her family and close knit circle of friends during this incredibly difficult time."

Hailing from Citrus Heights, California, the musician studied music in college before connecting with audiences as a beloved contestant on season 5 of American Idol. She finished the competition in the top 9 alongside favorites like Katharine McPheeKellie PicklerChris DaughtryParis BennettElliott Yamin and eventual winner Taylor Hicks.

Following her stint on Idol, Mandisa released her debut album, True Beauty, in 2007. The project debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Christian Albums chart, making her the first new female artist to accomplish the feat, and she earned her first Grammy nomination for best pop/contemporary gospel album.

Mandisa released five more albums throughout her career, including 2013's Overcomer, which earned a Grammy Award win for best contemporary Christian music album the following year.

Later in 2014, her best friend and backup singer Kisha Mitchell died of breast cancer while pregnant, leading to a low period for Mandisa. "When she passed away, it shook the foundations underneath me," she told PEOPLE in 2017. "I sank into a deep pit of depression."

The mental health struggles led Mandisa to turn to food, gain a significant amount of weight and become a recluse.

Related: 'American Idol'' s Mandisa Was Suicidal, Gained 200 Lbs. After Friend's Death: 'I'm Still Here' After Feeling 'So Hopeless'

<p>John Shearer/WireImage</p> Mandisa in Los Angeles in January 2010

John Shearer/WireImage

Mandisa in Los Angeles in January 2010

"You’re battling shame, and you don’t want to leave the house," she said. "I didn’t leave the house, for the most part. When I got up, I went downstairs, sat in the recliner, and I watched television nonstop. The only time I left was when I got tired of pizza delivery and decided to get McDonald’s."

Mandisa, who'd shut out her friends and passion for music, eventually felt "so miserable" and "so hopeless" she struggled with suicidal ideation.

"I am a woman of faith, and I believe that heaven is real, and when I do leave here, I’m going to be in heaven with Jesus," she recalled. "One of the things I started hearing during that dark period was: ‘You’re in so much pain. If you take your life, you could be in heaven right now with Jesus.'"

<p>Jason Merritt/FilmMagic</p> Mandisa

Jason Merritt/FilmMagic


In 2016, however, she stepped out to see a movie on a rare outing and was met with a kind intervention from several close friends. "When I left the movie theater, I saw my car: It had a bunch of sticky notes all over it. The notes said things like ‘We love you’ and ‘We miss you’ and ‘Come back to us,'" she said.

"As I walked closer to my car, I realized a bunch of my friends had been sitting there waiting for me. They insisted that I get counseling, and that is what helped me finally start dealing with my grief. If that hadn’t happened, I probably wouldn’t be here today," added Mandisa.

As she worked to better her mental health, she also focused on her physical health. "I’m making one healthy choice after another to, 1 lb. at a time," she said.

<p>Terry Wyatt/Getty </p> Mandisa in Nashville in May 2018

Terry Wyatt/Getty

Mandisa in Nashville in May 2018

She then channeled her pain into an album, 2017's Out of the Dark, and wrote about her experiences in a 2022 memoir, Out of the Dark: My Journey Through the Shadows to Find God's Joy.

"When you are walking through this, you think that you’re the only one," she told PEOPLE. "But you are never the only person walking through something like that."

If you or someone you know needs mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.