Freddie Combs, a beloved contestant on Season 2 of The X-Factor who inspired viewers via his incredible weight loss journey and unexpected vocal chord range, died last Friday at a hospital in Florida.
He was 49 years old.
TMZ confirmed this sad piece of news today after speaking with Freddie’s wife, Kay.
Kay told this celebrity gossip website that her husband passed away while surrounded by friends and family member.
The death was not Covid-related, but instead the result of kidney failure.
Combs appeared on The X-Factor in 2012, performing from a wheel chair due to his excessive size.
At one point, Combs said back then, he weighed 920 pounds. Hence why so many viewers didn’t expect such a lovely voice to come from Combs, who is best remembered for his rendition of "The Wind Beneath My Wongs."
Kay told TMZ that Combs continually worked to lose weight over the last decade-plus, getting all the way down to 385 pounds at the time of his death.
Sadly, she says she knew her child was going to pass the day before he left her, adding:
"I have so much gratitude to be his wife for 25 years and to be his best friend."
The couple itself was actually featured on a 2010 TLC special titled "Ton of Love."
Prior to his time on The X Factor, Combs — who served as a minister — had a near-death experience due to his obesity.
He tipped the scales at over 540 pounds during his time on the reality show.
After his performance of the aforementioned Bette Midler hit, judges Simon Cowell and LA Reid promised to help him Combs if he promised to be healthy, lose weight and get out of the wheelchair.
Freddie vowed to do so… and subsequently lost about 150 more pounds.
In a 2012 interview with Reality Wanted, Combs talked about why he wanted to try out for The X Factor.
"In 2010, we did with TLC and because of that I was contacted by a producer from RTL Television is Europe and we did a documentary for European television," Combs said back then.
"He is the one who encouraged me to try out. He actually set the interview up.
"I interviewed initially in Nashville and he was the one who encouraged me to audition."
Combs also delved about the audition process:
"I was very excited.
"With that many people in the auditorium, the excitement level is incredible. I was very tired that day. It had been a long day of auditions and mine was toward the end.
"I was very optimistic that they would recognize my talent.
"I was, however, a little nervous about the fact that I was not what they would expect to be coming on the stage."
We send our condolences to the friends, family members and loved ones of Freddie Combs.
May he rest in peace.