Jamal Edwards: Tributes roll in following death of SBTV founder after his death aged 31
The entrepreneur gained fame from setting up the new music platform, which helped to launch a string of UK music careers including Dave and Jessie J.
He was 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.
His manager told the PA news agency that Edwards died on Sunday morning.
Edwards was a teenager when he launched the youth broadcasting and production film channel SBTV to upload clips he had recorded of his friends performing on the estate where he lived in Acton, west London.
By 2014, he had amassed an estimated fortune of around £8 million and worked with the likes of Jessie J, Emeli Sande and Ed Sheeran.
Tributes to Edwards have flooded social media with many expressing their condolences to his mother, the Loose Women panellist Brenda Edwards who finished fourth in the second series of the X Factor in 2005.
Singer and TV presenter Brenda Edwards has said her son Jamal was “the centre of our world”.
The Loose Women panellist thanked everyone for “messages of love and support” following the sudden death of SBTV founder Jamal.
In a statement read out on ITV’s Good Morning Britain and shared on Loose Women’s Twitter account, Edwards 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.”
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.”
Loose Women and ITV news presenter Charlene White tweeted: “Your light shone so brightly that it touched so many of us, impacted the lives of many more, and changed the game forever.
“And, you are my Brenda’s son. There are no words to describe her heartbreak, our heartbreak, now that your light has gone. Sometimes life is terribly unfair.”
Comedian Mo Gilligan has led a wealth of tributes from the entertainment industry and beyond for SBTV founder Jamal Edwards – who championed acts including Dave, Ed Sheeran and Jessie J – after his death at the age of 31.
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.”
Che Wolton Grant, better known by his stage name AJ Tracey, also took to Twitter to vent his grief.
The rapper, singer, songwriter and record producer from Ladbroke Grove, west London, said: “RIP Jamal Edwards, West London legend status.”
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.”
Singer Rita Ora said in an Instagram post that she was devastated at the news, writing: “My first ever interview was with you. Jamal, Our endless talks on music and the belief you had in me and so many of us before we even believed in ourselves. I’m devastated.
“No words can describe how grateful I am to of been in your presence. Thank you for all you ever showed me. My heart goes out to @brendaedwardsglobal and the whole family. RIP.”
DJ, model and presenter Snoochie Shy, AKA Cheyenne Davide, said: “RIP to Jamal Edwards. One of the kindest, thoughtful and all round great person. Gone way too soon.”
Musician, singer, songwriter, rapper and record producer Elliot Gleave, better known by his stage name Example, said: “Can’t believe you’re gone. 31 years old. Can’t find the words right now.”
Chelsea FC took to Twitter to pay respects to the Blues superfan.
The football club said: “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.”
Speaking to PA after being made an MBE, he said he started SBTV to give his friends a platform.
He added: “It was a frustration of going to school and everyone talking about: ‘How do we get our videos on MTV?’
“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.’
“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.”
In the same interview, he described his working relationship with musicians as “symbiotic”.
“Fifty per cent is the talent and fifty per cent is the platform,” he said.
“I try to focus on people that haven’t got the platform. As well as getting a really well-known artist, I want to get the up-and-coming ones as well.”