Iam Tongi, the winner of American Idol season 19, has been through a lot of ups and downs in his life. One of the most tragic events that he had to face was the loss of his father, Rodney Guy, who passed away in December 2021 after suffering from stage 4 kidney disease. In this article, we will explore how Iam Tongi’s father cause of death affected his musical journey and how he paid tribute to him in his final performance.
Who Was Rodney Guy?
Rodney Guy was the father of Iam Tongi, an American Idol contestant who impressed the judges and the viewers with his soulful voice and charismatic personality. Rodney was of Tongan/Samoan/Caucasian descent and had four children with his wife, Lani. He was a loving and supportive father who encouraged Iam to pursue his passion for singing.
According to Distractify, Rodney was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney disease in 2022 and had to undergo dialysis treatment for several months. However, his health continued to decline and he peacefully passed away in his sleep at home at the age of 57.
How Did Iam Tongi Cope With His Father’s Death?
Iam Tongi was devastated by his father’s death and initially lost his motivation to sing. He said that every time he sang, he could hear his dad backing him up. His mother, Lani, helped him overcome his grief by telling him that it was a beautiful thing that he could hear his dad and that he should keep singing to honor him.
Iam decided to audition for American Idol in 2023 as a way of fulfilling his dad’s wish to see him perform on the show. He dedicated several of his performances to his dad, such as “Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel and “I’ll Be Seeing You” by Billie Holiday. He also wore a necklace with his dad’s name on it throughout the competition.
How Did Iam Tongi Honor His Dad in His Final Performance?
In the finale of American Idol on May 21, 2023, Iam Tongi faced off against Grace Kinstler and Willie Spence for the title. He sang three songs: “Stand Up” by Cynthia Erivo, “Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland, and “I’ll Be Seeing You” by Billie Holiday.
The last song was especially emotional for Iam as it was a tribute to his dad who had passed away. The song is about seeing the loved ones you lose wherever you go and being with them in spirit. Iam delivered a heartfelt rendition of the song that moved the judges and the audience to tears.
He said that he wanted people to understand where he was coming from and to hopefully love the music. He also thanked his dad for being with him throughout his journey.
After he finished singing, host Ryan Seacrest announced that Iam Tongi was the winner of American Idol season 19. Iam was overjoyed and hugged his mother and his siblings who were present on stage. He also thanked God, his family, and his fans for their support.
He said that winning American Idol was a dream come true for him and his dad and that he hoped he made him proud. He also said that he would continue to sing for him and for everyone who loved him.
Iam Tongi’s father cause of death was a tragic event that shaped his musical career and inspired him to achieve greatness. He honored his dad in his final performance and dedicated his victory to him. He proved that he is not only a talented singer but also a resilient and courageous person who can overcome any challenge. He is a true American Idol.