Jamal Edwards: West London music mogul - who helped Dave and Ed Sheeran - dies after ‘sudden illness’

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Acton lad Jamal Edwards has died following a battle with a “sudden illness”, his mother announced on Twitter.

Tributes to SBTV founder Jamal Edwards have flooded social media following the death of the west London entrepreneur at the age of 31.

The British music industry is in mourning and many have expressed their condolences to Edwards’ mother, the Loose Women panellist Brenda Edwards who finished fourth in the second series of the X Factor in 2005.

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Edwards grew up in Acton, west London, where he set up his hip-hop and grime YouTube channel SBTV.

He then went on to help launch the careers of Jessie J, Emeli Sande, Dave, and Ed Sheeran.

Here is everything you need to know about him.

Jamal Edwards at the Burberry Womenswear Show in 2016 (Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Burberry)Jamal Edwards at the Burberry Womenswear Show in 2016 (Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Burberry)
Jamal Edwards at the Burberry Womenswear Show in 2016 (Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Burberry) | Getty Images

Who was Jamal Edwards?

The entrepreneur gained fame from setting up SBTV in 2006, a web-based platform championing new music, particularly in the genres of hip-hop and grime.

Edwards was a teenager when he launched the broadcasting and production film channel to upload clips he had recorded of his friends performing on the estate where he lived in Acton, west London.

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By 2014, he had amassed an estimated fortune of around £8 million, and had worked with and helped to launch the UK music careers of the likes of Jessie J, Emeli Sande, Dave, and Ed Sheeran.

He was also an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust, a charity headed by the Prince of Wales, and in 2014 he was awarded an MBE for his services to music.

Speaking to PA after being made an MBE, he said he started SBTV to give his friends a platform, and to try to help them get their videos on MTV.

He added: “YouTube was like a year old. I was like ‘I’ve got a camera for Christmas, I’m going to start filming people and uploading it’.

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“Everyone was looking at me like ‘what are you doing, like you can compete with these major corporations’, but I think I was early enough to believe that I could make a change.”

Edwards holds his Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) medal after it was awarded to him by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in 2015 (Photo: JOHN STILLWELL/AFP via Getty Images)Edwards holds his Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) medal after it was awarded to him by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in 2015 (Photo: JOHN STILLWELL/AFP via Getty Images)
Edwards holds his Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) medal after it was awarded to him by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in 2015 (Photo: JOHN STILLWELL/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

The official Youtube Twitter account said the industry had “lost a legend”, adding: “Jamal Edwards was an inspiration to so many, supporting artists and shaping culture through @SBTVonline. Sending our condolences to Jamal’s family & community.”

Loose Women’s Denise Welch said: “My heart aches for my friend Brenda. I can’t bear it. Jamal Edwards was a wonderful son and brother.”

Who has paid tribute?

Comedian Mo Gilligan has led a wealth of tributes from the entertainment industry and beyond for Edwards.

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Gilligan, who hosted the Brit Awards earlier this month, called Edwards a “truly humble and blessed soul”.

He wrote on Twitter: “Your legacy will live on for years & you’ve inspired a whole generation. Rest easy Jamal Edwards.”

Awards organisation Mobo said on Twitter: “We are deeply saddened to learn of Jamal Edwards passing. As the founder of @SBTVonline, his groundbreaking work and legacy in British music and culture will live on.

“Our hearts and thoughts are with his friends and family.”

Radio and TV presenter Fearne Cotton said the news was “completely heart breaking”.

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In an Instagram post on Monday morning, she added: “Jamal you were the most special person. I adored hanging out with you, chatting about life and big dreams. I slept terribly last night. Felt edgy and wired. Woke up to this sad, sad news.

“Your creativity and passion for nurturing new talent will never be forgotten. I last saw Jamal in the summer at Abbey Road studios. We hung out and chatted about music and he took some photos of me for a project he was working on. He was always creating. So much love to Jamal’s family.”

Tributes also extended beyond the entertainment landscape, with Chelsea FC paying respects to the Blues superfan.

The football club wrote on Twitter: “We’re deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Jamal Edwards. An inspiration to many, we’re honoured that he was part of our Chelsea family.

“Our thoughts are with everyone who knew and loved him.”

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What happened to him?

Edwards’ mother Brenda Edwards released a statement on Sunday following the death of her son, in which she said he died “after a sudden illness”.

Released on the official Twitter account of ITV’s Loose Women, on which she is a regular panellist, her statement said: “It is with the deepest heartache that I confirm that my beautiful son Jamal Edwards passed away yesterday morning after a sudden illness. Myself, his sister Tanisha, and the rest of his family and friends are completely devastated. He was the centre of our world.

“As we come to terms with his passing, we asked for privacy to grieve this unimaginable loss. I would like to thank everyone for their messages of love and support. Jamal was an inspiration to myself and so many. Our love for him lives on, his legacy lives on. Long live Jamal Edwards MBE, MBA, PhD.”

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