Freddie Combs, a minister and former fan-favorite contestant on “The X Factor,” has died, according to a Florida funeral home. He was 49.
Combs’ wife, Kay Combs, told TMZ that the singer died at a Florida hospital on Friday, Sept. 10, after suffering from kidney failure. Kay added that her husband was surrounded by family and friends at the time of his death.
Combs appeared as a contestant during the second season of Fox’s “The X Factor” in 2012. He auditioned with a soaring rendition of Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings,” which earned him four yes votes from celebrity judges Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid, Britney Spears and Demi Lovato.
In his audition episode, he shared his struggles with weight loss, explaining that in 2009, he had weighed 920 pounds and was close to death. Cowell and Reid vowed to support Combs, who was in a wheelchair at the time of his audition, if he continued to lose weight. He was eliminated from the competition shortly thereafter.
Combs and his wife later appeared on a few TLC specials, including 2011’s “Ton of Love” and 2012’s “Happily Ever After,” both of which documented their quest to lose weight.
Kay Combs told TMZ that her husband had worked diligently over the past decade to lose more than 500 pounds. She told the outlet, “I have so much gratitude to be his wife for 25 years and to be his best friend.”
According to Combs’ public obituary, “Freddie spent most of his life in ministry preaching the gospel and singing praises to his Lord Jesus Christ. He has touched countless lives and their ministry will continue to do so. … Freddie is survived by his wife, Katrina (Kay) Combs, parents Leslie & Nancy Rife, sisters Carrie Rife, Kristina (Andrew) Boggs and nephew Colin Boggs.”