His death follows that of Spanish racing driver Maria de Villota, whose body was found in a hotel room in Seville last Friday. Her family subsequently said in a statement that she died as a result of head injuries sustained in a straight-line test for the Marussia Formula One team at Duxford airfield in Cambridgeshire last summer.
Edwards's death also came just a week after Scottish driver and three-time Indy500 champion Dario Franchitti survived a high-speed accident in an IndyCar race in Houston.
Franchitti broke two vertebrae, two ribs and had just had a second operation on his broken ankle when he learned of Edwards's death. "Was woken for my pain pills and saw the incredibly sad news out of Australia about Porsche driver Sean Edwards," he wrote on Twitter. "Rest in peace Sean."
Edwards had been enjoying the best year of his career to date.
Together with Bernd Schneider, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Nicki Thiim, he won the prestigious Nurburgring 24 Hours for Mercedes back in May. He also won the Dubai 24 Hours earlier this year and had victories in the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany and in the GTC class of the American Le Mans Series.
He leads the Supercup standings with just one double-header remaining at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on the weekend of the Formula One Grand Prix on Nov 2-3.
A popular driver from a family steeped in motor racing, Edwards played his father Guy in the Ron Howard film Rush, about the rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt, which was released in cinemas last month.
Guy Edwards, now 70, won a Queen's Gallantry Medal after helping to rescue Lauda from the burning wreckage of his Ferrari in the 1976 German Grand Prix.
Edwards tweeted a picture of himself during the shooting of the film last May dressed in his father's race suit and helmet. "I'm playing my dad Guy Edwards today, how cool is that?!" he wrote. "Got his car, suit and helmet on! Penthouse RIZLA sponsors :-)"
Drivers past and present were quick to express their sadness.
Jenson Button and David Coulthard, who both live in Monaco where Edwards was also a resident, said the news had come as a huge shock.
"Just stepped off a long-haul flight to hear the terrible news about Sean Edwards," Button wrote on Twitter. "Thoughts are with his family right now. RIP Champion."
Coulthard added: "Shocking news about Sean Edwards passing, top man and super talented racer, condolences to his nearest and dearest."
Red Bull's Mark Webber, who is quitting Formula One at the end of this season to drive for Porsche in LMP1 sportscars, said: "Way, way too early... What a talent.. Always enjoyed watching him drive at the F1 weekends. #RIPSeanEdwards."
Allan McNish, a three-time Le??Mans winner, described Edwards's death as tragic in that he had only just begun to realise his full potential.
"I knew his father initially from his sponsorship days, so I have followed Sean's career a bit closer than you would normally do," McNish said. "Having won the Nurburgring 24 Hours this year, I would say this was probably his strongest year in racing. He won the Porsche Supercup race in Monaco this year by 20 seconds, which is unheard of in a one-make-spec championship.
"This was a breakthrough year for him. He was showing what talent he had, but had maybe never had the opportunity to actually display it. Apart from that, he was a guy who loved life, loved racing, loved cycling, was strong and fit."