Freddie Combs, the overweight minister who inspired the judges on the second season of The X Factor has died at age 49.
TMZ reports that according to his wife Kay, Freddie died last Friday (Sept 10) surrounded by friends and family at a hospital in Florida. Kay says that his death was not Covid-19 related, but the result of kidney failure.
Kay told TMZ that Freddie was diligently working on his weight loss over the past 11 years. He had weighed over 900 lbs, getting all the way down to 385 lbs, and she’s very proud of him. Sadly, she says she knew he was going to pass the day before he did, adding, “I have so much gratitude to be his wife for 25 years and to be his best friend.”
On X Factor in the fall of 2012, Freddie, 540 lbs at the time, and reliant on a wheelchair, wowed the judges with a rendition of “Wind Beneath My Wings” which he dedicated to his wife.
After his performance, judge L.A. Reid said, “Your voice is heavenly.” Britney Spears added, “I found your voice shockingly amazing.” Demi Lovato confessed, “I feel a lot of emotion behind your singing.” And Simon Cowell said, “I had a vision of you standing singing that song. I don’t think you deserve to be stuck in that chair.” As a condition of putting him through to the next round,
Simon wanted Freddie to promise to continue working on his weight. Freddie agreed and received 4 yeses from the panel. However, Freddie was eliminated in the next round and never made the live shows.
The X Factor was not Freddie’s first go at reality TV. He and his wife were featured on a TLC special called Ton of Love in 2010. And in 2011, the two were featured in a special, Heavily Ever After: The Big Climb, which was meant to be a pilot for a series starring the couple. However, the network only aired two episodes.