OG YouTube Influencer Jessica Pettway Leaves Behind Her Husband and Two Daughters

Jessica Pettway said of her husband, Michael, "nothing worth having is easy," before she died of stage 3 cervical cancer.

Elizabeth Randolph - Author

Mar. 19 2024, Published 4:52 p.m. ET

In the 2010s, the Black natural hair influencers took YouTube by storm. One of the movement's pioneers who helped change the beauty industry was OG content creator Jessica Pettway. On March 19, 2024, news broke that Jessica died of cervical cancer. She was 37.

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Jessica launched her YouTube channel in 2013 and was best known for her hair tutorials, transformation videos, and travel vlogs. Before she died, she also shared moments with her husband and their two daughters. On her social media channels, the content creator opened up about how her diagnosis affected not only her, but her family of four.

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Jessica Pettway married her husband, Michael, in 2011.

While some influencers opt to never share their romantic partners'' identity online, Jessica often spoke about her husband, Michael, and their love story. Unlike his wife, Michael is a private person with not much of a social media presence. However, through Jessica's platform, fans discovered how the couple's love story began.

In a 2017 YouTube Q&A video, Jessica shared that she and Michael started dating in 2005 when they were both teenagers. They hit it off after Michael asked Jessica's manager to connect them. From there, the couple dated six years before tying the knot on April 8, 2011, when Jessica was 23.

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Jessica shared on her channel and on social media how she and Michael dealt with naysayers who felt the couple was too young to get married. However, the couple chose not to listen to their haters, which the content creator said was a significant part of their relationship's success.

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'"Young love doesn't last, so don't get your hopes up,' Someone literally told me this about our relationship," Jessica recalled in a January 2022 Instagram post. "Yet here we are, 16 years after that statement was made. Thankfully, we chose to listen to those who encouraged our love versus those who could only see their own failed relationships. Nothing worth having is easy, but nothing too easy is worth having. Excited to see what God does for us in the next 16 years."

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Jessica was a mother of two daughters, Kai and Zoi.

During their romance, Jessica and Michael welcomed two daughters — Kai Lee and Zoi Lee. Kai, Jessica's eldest, was born in 2013, and Zoi joined the family in 2020. Jessica's kids frequently used her social media accounts and had their own Instagram accounts run by influencers. On Instagram, she shared how having her daughters and husband made her stop yearning for fame as much and allowed her to focus on what she felt was more important.

"Living a simple life is such a blessing," Jessica said in 2021. "The older I get, the more simplistic I desire my life to be. I don't want a lot of things. I don't desire to be known. I don't care about accolades. Just give me Jesus and these beautiful humans I'm pictured with, and I'm satisfied. Putting smiles on their faces. Moments we get to create. Memories we get to establish. When you're not chasing a dream, you can live in the beauty of your reality."

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In addition to opting to slow down after the birth of her second baby girl, Jessica shared that she was open to having more children before she died. While cozying up with Zoi, she captioned the photo slideshow, "This little face makes me want to make more little faces."

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Fans hope Jessica’s husband takes action against doctors who misdiagnosed her cervical cancer.

Jessica's husband and daughters are mourning her amid the rest of the world discovering she passed away from stage 3 cervical cancer. According to E! News, Jessica died on March 13, 2024. Her sister, Reyni Brown, announced the news on Instagram, telling her followers, "I lost my beautiful big sister two days ago, and my heart has never felt pain like this."

Jessica had been transparent about her cervical cancer diagnosis on her Instagram account. In July 2023, she was initially misdiagnosed as having fibroids.

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Before getting the misdiagnosis, Jessica said she was "having intense vaginal bleeding." She experienced so much that her husband "found me in the bathroom unresponsive and not breathing" and that she "had literally passed away." She was then rushed to the hospital, where her doctor told her she had fibroids and that her symptoms were typical. After another hospitalization stay and ten blood transfusions, Jessica had a biopsy, which confirmed she had cervical cancer.

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Many of Jessica's followers urged her husband, Michael, to take legal action against her doctors. It's unclear if Jessica or Michael ever sued her doctor, but she continued discussing the matter until she died and remained in good spirits. In August 2023, Jessica shared the illness had affected her husband and kids just as much as it did her, sharing how her and her husband's "vows" were tested and her children were afraid for their mom.

"Anytime you're dealing with an illness, it not only affects you, but it also changes the lives of those closest to you," Jessica said. "This year rocked our world. From the countless hospital stays. To the financial strain. We've been through it all! The girls are too young to understand, yet they noticed the changes."

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Despite the challenging moments, Jessica remained in good spirits throughout her battle. In her July 2023 post, she was hopeful she would beat the illness and said she knew God had the final say.

"Being told I have cancer didn't devastate me," she said. "It was the reaction of those close to me. I knew that God was my healer and that no weapon formed against me, not even cancer, would prosper. I knew that I am more than a conqueror and that I will get through this."

We're praying Jessica's family's healing during this time. Rest in peace, beautiful one!

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