Danny Gokey Engaged

12/27/2011 at 12:00 PM EST

Danny Gokey, Leyicet Peralta to Marry
Danny Gokey
Curtis Hilbun/AFF-USA
American Idol alum Danny Gokey, who tragically lost his wife three years ago, is engaged to marry his girlfriend, Leyicet Peralta. The happy news was announced on the website of the charity Sophia's Heart, which honors the memory of his late wife, Sophia.

The site states that the entertainer, 31, recently told friends and family of the couple's plans to wed, and that they are looking to hold the wedding late next month.

"He is thrilled to have found Leyicet who also shares his passion and desire to help children and families in need," says a message on the site. "Accordingly, Danny & Leyicet have requested to their wedding guests that all gifts be in the form of a donation to Sophia’s Heart."

The couple also issued a statement, saying, "We are thankful for so many of the blessings God has given us. It is our desire to see homeless children and families be kept together and lifted back on their feet through the help of Sophia's Heart. We love and appreciate you all.”

A Milwaukee native, the bespectacled Gokey was a season 8 Idol finalist and has a famously tragic back story that includes the 2008 loss of his young wife after a routine heart surgery. Still, last year he was able to tell PEOPLE, "I feel very lucky [when it comes to] the progression I've made in the last year and a half."

With reporting by KEVIN O'DONNELL

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