Jamal Edwards, music entrepreneur and YouTube star, dies aged 31

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Music entrepreneur and YouTube star Jamal Edwards has died aged 31.

He was the founder of SBTV, an online urban music platform that helped artists like Dave, Ed Sheeran and Jessie J come to prominence.

The son of Loose Women panellist Brenda Edwards, he grew up on a council estate in Acton, west London, according to the Prince’s Trust.

She said in a statement: “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.”

‘His legacy will live on’

Rapper AJ Tracey was among those paying tribute, saying on Twitter: “RIP Jamal Edwards, west London legend status.”

Born in Luton, Edwards was appointed an MBE for services to music in 2014 and was an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust, which helps young people set up their own businesses.

The MOBO Awards said: “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.”

He attended the Brit Awards earlier this month and reportedly performed as a DJ at a gig in north London on Saturday night.

A representative said he died on Sunday morning but no other details have been released.

He was a teenager when he started SBTV to upload clips he recorded of his friends performing on the estate, and has since grown the YouTube channel into a multimillion-pound online youth broadcaster.

SBTV has made music videos with popular artists like Nicki Minaj, gaining more than 1.2 million subscribers.

‘Anything is possible if you stay dedicated’

When Edwards received his MBE at the age of 24, he wrote on Facebook: “Never in a million years did I ever think I would receive such an accolade.

“For me this is about us the YOUTH, with so much negativity around us it’s hard sometimes to stay positive and fight for your dreams.”

He said he worked in retail for four years while he was starting his YouTube channel and encouraged young people to “invest” in themselves to build a better life.

He added: “I am over the moon to be honoured for my contributions to music, honestly people anything is possible if you stay dedicated.

“I was forced to carve my own path, taking an untraditional route, part of a digital culture rewriting the rules and breaking down barriers.”

In true entrepreneurial spirit, the introduction to his Facebook page reads: “There are those who look at things and ask why. I’d say dream of things that never were and ask why not.”

Edwards ‘changed the lives of others’

Tributes started pouring in as the news of his death broke.

Amelia Dimoldenberg, the creator of Chicken Shop Dates, called him “one of the most generous people I have ever met” and “someone who loved music and truly believed in all the joy it brings”.

“You have shaped culture and changed the lives of others – never to be forgotten,” she said.

Premier League footballer Reece James said he was “lost for words”.

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