Jordin Sparks’ 16-year-old stepsister, Bryanna Jackson-Frias, died Tuesday (Jan. 30) due to complications from sickle cell anemia, according to People. The singer revealed in an Instagram post on Wednesday (Jan. 31) that Jackson-Frias was the fourth loved one to die over the course of one week.
“My heart is so heavy and broken,” she said in the post.
Jodi Jackson, Sparks’ mom, paid tribute to her daughter on Facebook, saying, “Bry went peacefully to Heaven. I can’t help to think that she’s smiling just like this.”
Sickle Cell Anemia is an inherited blood disorder that causes the production of abnormal hemoglobin, forming red blood cells into a rigid “C” shape. Children whose parents either have the disease or sickle cell trait are prone to the malady. The American Society of Hermatology cites approximately 70,000 to 100,000 Americans have this disease, affecting about eight percent of African-Americans.
The tragic news comes months after the American Idol alum announced she secretly tied the knot with model Dana Isaia and is expecting their first child, according to PEOPLE.