Freddie Combs, whose soaring voice made him a fan favorite on television’s The X Factor music competition, has died at age 49. He died Sept. 10 at a Florida hospital from kidney failure, his wife, Kay, said.
Combs was a minister and performed in a wheelchair on The X Factor. He battled health problems for years, and his wife told TMZ that he weighed as much as 920 pounds in 2009. He was featured in 2010 on the TLC series Ton of Love and managed to get his weight down to a relatively svelte 540 lbs., which is where he was at when he appeared on the second season of Simon Cowell’s The X Factor in the U.S.
In his appearance, Combs’ version of Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings” made him stand out, and judges Cowell and L.A. Reid gave him their word they’d support him if he got healthier.
He soon was eliminated from the competition.
“I have so much gratitude to be his wife for 25 years,” Kay Combs said, “and to be his best friend.”