Southern Methodist University assistant soccer coach Jamal Powell died Tuesday. He was 39 years old.
Powell was only four days from his 40th birthday on April 10th.
The university’s soccer team confirmed the news on social media on Wednesday.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of Jamal Powell,” the team wrote. “Our hearts and prayers are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”
His cause of death was not immediately known, although Powell was battling Guillian-Barré syndrome and stage 4 colon cancer when he died, according to NBC5.
Powell was diagnosed with Guillian-Barré Syndrome – a rare autoimmune disease – after experiencing “debilitating symptoms” in his first year as a coach at SMU in 2018, according to a GoFundMe campaign for the family.
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While in rehabilitation, he received his colon cancer diagnosis, which he reported to NBC5 at Stage 4 in August 2020.
Powell has spent the last three years at SMU, initially as an offensive line coach and most recently as an offensive quality control analyst.
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“It’s hard to see how broken our family is, but we’re so grateful that such a remarkable and unique man has come into our lives,” head coach Sonny Dykes wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. “He made everyone he met want to get better. God bless the Powell family.”
Prior to SMU, Powell led James Madison University to two conference championships and the 2016 FCS championship. He also spent a season at Lamar University.
As an athlete, Powell played college football at Texas Christian University before playing professionally for the Tennessee Titans and the Houston Texans. He also played two seasons in the Canadian Football League.
Powell is survived by his wife Rachel, their two daughters Jaden and Ellison, and their son William.