Family and friends are mourning the sudden passing of a young rapper who was passionate about his faith and encouraging young people.

According to family friends, Tirrell Thomas went to the hospital in Altona on Monday, July 1th, and died in the early morning hours of Tuesday, July 2nd. Thomas, who had been having underlying health issues the last few years, would have turned 31 on Thursday, July 4th.

He had just performed last week at Altona's Ecole West Park School. Thomas was originally from Roseau River First Nation, and lived in Altona for many years.

Thomas was a beloved rapper who was mentored by Fresh IE, and had previously performed under the stage name Ti-Real.

He was very open about growing up without his mother and father, as well as struggling with addiction issues. Thomas said he was abandoned by his mother when he was just two weeks old. She left him on a couch in his grandmother's home, and he was not found for several hours.

Darlene Enns-Dyck has set up a fundraiser to cover funeral and travel expenses for his family.

She says on GoFundMe that, "Tirrell was known and loved by many people, first and foremost his family, the music community that he poured his heart and soul into, and his friends. His loss is shocking and heartbreaking."

In 2017 Thomas shared with CHVN Radio how he learned to offer forgiveness and grace to those who had wounded him in the past:

In 2023 he stopped by the CHVN studios to share about his latest single at the time, "What's Real Love?"

"Growing up I didn't know the definition of love, because I had kind of a bad example of it," Thomas said at the time. 

"I was in the hospital for a long time [due to alcohol] and when I was in the hospital the last time, the doctor was like 'if your heart stops, so you want us to do everything we can to bring you back?' And I kind of laid on my bed, and I was thinking that I'm actually killing myself, like, alcohol is a form of suicide, and I'm actually killing myself, and I didn't even know it."

Thomas got himself into the detox centre at HSC, and then into the Bruce Oake Recovery Centre. He graduated from the centre in December 2022.

After graduating from the Bruce Oake Recovery Centre he began to release music again.

He says while in recovery he experienced unconditional love from others in the program and his faith was reignited.

No funeral plans have been announced at time of publishing.