The death of Ashley “AJ” Jewell continues to send shockwaves through those who knew him as well as his fiancé, Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kandi Burrus.
Among those mourning Jewell is the reality starlet’s former Xscape groupmate, Tameka “Tiny” Cottle, who sent her “deepest condolences” to Jewell’s family and Burris via a statement issued soon after finding out about Jewell’s passing.
“AJ was a very sweet person who has been a friend for quite some time and had a lot of positive things taking place in his life for it all to be taken away from him so quickly,” Cottle told AllHipHop.com, adding that Jewell “will be missed.”
Cottle and Burrus experienced platinum success as members of Xscape.
The group hit #1 with the singles “Just Kickin’ It” and “Understanding. ” They released other successful singles together, like “Who Can I Run To” and “Love on My Mind”
“My family and I will continue to keep his family and most of all his children in our prayers,” she continued. “I am praying for my friend Kandi that God gives her the strength to endure. She is a very strong person and I know god will see her through.”
Cottle’s statement comes after Jewell was killed following a heated exchange with Fredrick Richardson at Body Tap, a popular strip club in Atlanta, on Friday (Oct. 2). Richardson, an employee at Body Tap, was later arrested and charged with voluntary manslaughter.
He is currently being held without bail and is expected to appear in court on October 20. According to reports, Burrus is “devastated” over the death of Jewell as she released her own statement regarding the passing, her feelings towards Jewell and their last conversation. Jewell’s death comes amid the loss of Burrus’ uncle, Ralph Leslie.
When asked about the singer/songwriter’s current status, Cottle revealed to AllHipHop.com that she has talked to her friend and “she’s doing as to be expected.”
“I think it feels like a dream kind of thing so she’s just taking it easy,” said Cottle. “You know her uncle just passed too so it’s like a double whammy on her and she’s trying to be strong. It’s a tough place to be in. You lose your uncle, somebody she’s been close with and then her ex all at one time.”
The interaction between Burrus and Jewell was among various things Cottle remembers most about Jewell. According to the singer, the couple harbored genuine feelings towards each other.
“From what I seen, it was very loving, affectionate. They were having a good time every time I seen them together. AJ was a really cool guy, fun guy. They really enjoyed each other,”
Cottle recalled as she confirmed talk of a romantic relationship she shared with Jewell.
“I did date him years ago and he was a cool guy, but I really don’t wanna comment on what kind of man he was because I’m in a relationship that I respect to the fullest,” said Cottle, who alluded to her marriage with rapper T.I.
Although an official cause of death has not been revealed, the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office revealed to TMZ.com that Jewell’s body showed signs of a physical altercation. I
nitial reports stated that Jewell was left for dead at the strip club, but law enforcement sources tell said that Jewell was walking and talking after his fight with Richardson and opted to get a ride to the hospital from a friend rather than take an ambulance.