Jamal Edwards: Music entrepreneur and YouTube star dies aged 31

20 February 2022, 23:15 | Updated: 21 February 2022, 13:17

Jamal Edwards has died aged 31
Jamal Edwards has died aged 31. Picture: Alamy

By Patrick Grafton-Green

British entrepreneur and YouTube star Jamal Edwards has died at the age of 31.

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Edwards was known for founding new music platform SBTV - helping to launch a string of UK music careers including Ed Sheeran, Dave and Jessie J.

The channel also featured early music from Skepta, Stomzy and Rita Ora.

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

His manager confirmed that he died on Sunday morning.

His mother, Loose Women presenter Brenda Edwards, said he died after a "sudden illness".

Today, she paid tribute to her "beautiful" son, adding his family and friends were "completely devastated". "He was the centre of our world," she said.

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."

Rapper AJ Tracey tweeted: "RIP Jamal Edwards, west London legend status."

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

He wrote: "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."

"Can't believe you're gone. 31 years old. Can't find the words right now", rapper Example added.

Bafta-winning actor and director Adam Deacon, known for his leading role in Kidulthood, said on Twitter: "Today I was on set when I found out the tragic news that my good friend Jamal Edwards had passed away and I'm honestly heartbroken.

"Jamal was one of the nicest, most down to earth and humble men I've met in this industry. He always gave me time even when no one else would.

"He was an inspiration and what he achieved in life was truly remarkable. Thinking of his friends and family at this devastating time. RIP Jamal Edwards."

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."

Edwards was a teenager when he launched 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.

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."