SMU Assistant Football Coach Jamal Powell Dies Just Days Before His 40th Birthday After Cancer Diagnosis

Southern Methodist University assistant football coach Jamal Powell died Tuesday. He was 39.

Powell was just four days away from his 40th birthday on April 10.

The university's football team confirmed the news on social media Wednesday.

"We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Jamal Powell," the team wrote. "Our hearts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time."

His cause of death was not immediately known, though 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 disorder — after experiencing "debilitating symptoms" during his first year of coaching at SMU in 2018, a GoFundMe campaign for the family says.

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As he was in rehabilitation, he received his colon cancer diagnosis, which he told NBC5 in August 2020 was in stage 4.

Powell spent the past three years at SMU, first as an offensive line coach and, most recently, an offensive quality control analyst.

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"It's hard to put into worlds how heartbroken our family is but we are so thankful such a remarkable and unique man came into our life," head coach Sonny Dykes wrote on Twitter Wednesday. "He made everyone he met want to be better. God bless the Powell Family."

Before SMU, Powell helped lead James Madison University to two conference championships and the 2016 FCS Championship. He also spent one 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 for two seasons in the Canadian Football League.

Powell is survived by his wife Rachel, their two daughters, Jaden and Ellison, and their son, William.

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