Jamal Edwards death announcement was 'taken away from' mum after leak, co-host says

21 February 2022, 08:48 | Updated: 22 February 2022, 11:55

Jamal Edwards, pictured with his mum Brenda Edwards and Ed Sheeran, has tragically died aged 31.
Jamal Edwards, pictured with his mum Brenda Edwards and Ed Sheeran, has tragically died aged 31. Picture: Alamy/Instagram/jamaledwards

By Sophie Barnett

Loose Women host Charlene White has blasted the "unfair" announcement of Jamal Edwards' death after it was leaked online, claiming it was "taken away" from her heartbroken co-star Brenda Edwards.

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News of Jamal’s death first surfaced on social media on Sunday, with Brenda releasing a statement on Monday morning, confirming that the 31-year-old had died after “a short illness”.

Ms White told viewers on Monday's show that Brenda, a singer and presenter, felt the announcement had been "taken away from her" by people posting about the news online.

She said: "Brenda gave a statement this morning which I will read some of, and the reason why I am going to read some of this is because the opportunity to share Brenda's loss and the family's loss - that was taken away from Brenda because of various people on social media who decided to tell Brenda's story, and to tell Jamal's story without consulting Brenda, which was not fair in any shape or form."

Ms White said she and fellow panellist Judi Love had spent much of the night with their friend on Sunday after hearing the news.

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Describing Jamal as a "powerhouse" who changed the UK music scene, White added: "But what people have to understand is there is work life and there is family life and there is home life - and it should have been Brenda who was able to choose when she wanted the world to know about her loss and that was taken away from her."

The "truly humble" SBTV founder - who championed acts including Dave, Ed Sheeran and Jessie J - died on Sunday after a sudden illness.

Heartbroken Ms Edwards penned a statement in which she said Jamal was the "centre of" her world. 

"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 Tanish and the rest of his family and friends are completely devastated. He was the centre of our world," it read.

She continued: "As we come to terms with his passing, we ask 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."

Jamal was born and raised in Acton, west London, and set up the music site SBTV in 2006 to give his friends a platform.

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.

The entrepreneur 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.

The official Prince of Wales Twitter account said it was "thinking of the family of Jamal Edwards" on this sad day.

"His work in music but also as an ambassador for a new generation, including his work for The Prince’s Trust, were an inspiration to so many," the statement said.

Sir Richard Branson, who penned the forward for Edwards' 2013 book, Self Belief: The Vision, tweeted: "So sad to hear about the passing of Jamal Edwards MBE. What a loss of a truly extraordinary young man who made a huge difference to so many people's lives."

Musicians, politicians and royals are among those paying tribute to Jamal, with AJ Tracey hailing him as "West London legend status".

While Jessie J, whose early appearances on the new music channel helped propel her to fame, said her "heart is broken" following the death of her friend.

In a post on Instagram: "Your light. Your ideas. Your work ethic. Your laugh. Your care for every person you met was unmatched. But your friendship... Phew. That's why my heart is broken. We had plans bro. I can't believe this is real. I love you @jamaledwards."

She also shared clips showing her and Edwards appearing on Channel 4 series Gogglebox together and a screenshot of a text exchange in which she told the music entrepreneur, "Miss you."

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Comedian Mo Gilligan called Jamal 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."

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."

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Radio and TV presenter Fearne Cotton said the news was "completely heart-breaking".

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.

"You're 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 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."

Ms Edwards' Loose Women co-host Denise Welch was one of the hundreds to mourn Jamal's passing, taking to Twitter to write: "My heart aches for my friend Brenda. I can’t bear it. Jamal Edwards was a wonderful son and brother [sad face emojis]."

Tributes also extended beyond the entertainment landscape, with Chelsea FC taking 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.

Blues and England player Reece James added his condolences, writing on Twitter: "Rest in peace Jamal Edwards. I'm lost for words."

Former prime minister David Cameron said the death of SBTV founder Jamal Edwards was "such a sad loss".

Mr Cameron, who is chairman of the National Citizen Service's Board of Patrons, tweeted: "My thoughts & prayers are with the family of Jamal Edwards MBE. He was a great friend to @NCS & a valued Patron, supporting & inspiring young people to be the best they could be, leading from the front & showing what's possible with hard work & determination. Such a sad loss."