Jon Peter Lewis: 'My Prayers Are with Jennifer'

10/25/2008 at 04:10 PM EDT

Jon Peter Lewis: 'My Prayers Are with Jennifer'
Jon Peter Lewis; Jennifer Hudson
Courtesy Jon Peter Lewis; Picture Perfect/REX USA
Upon learning of the tragic deaths on Friday of Jennifer Hudson's mother and brother, fellow season 3 American Idol contestant Jon Peter Lewis tells PEOPLE, "I am so bereft of words, just how shocking this is ... how senseless and heartbreaking. My prayers are with Jennifer."

Lewis and Hudson became friends during the 2004 competition when both advanced to the top 12. They later traveled the country on the American Idol summer tour.

"She was living her dream. For her to have gone on (from Idol) to be in so many wonderful movies and to have gotten an Oscar and to have a strong record out, and she recently got engaged – she had the whole world before her. Before yesterday everything was fine," says Lewis, who has kept in touch with Hudson via email and texting.

Lewis believes that because "Jennifer is a strong believer in God, in the times ahead the best thing for her is to rely upon him to get her through this."

And, he adds, she should remember that her friends are there for her.

"There's a road in front of her that she's got to take and that will be difficult. The only thing I could and would say to her is that the turbulent times are here and I'm with her," says Lewis. "As long as she knows we love her and we're with her. I'm thinking about her and that's all you can do."

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