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Jamal Edwards, British Music Mogul Who Championed UK Rap and Helped Launch Ed Sheeran's Career, Dead at 31

Brenda and Jamal Edwards on 'Loose Women'. Credit: ITV.

Jamal Edwards, a YouTube pioneer who built one of the platform's earliest successes in 2006 when he founded the online music channel SB.TV as a teen in his parent's west London neighborhood, died Sunday after what his mother described as a "sudden illness."

Edward's mother Brenda, a singer and actress that is currently a presenter and panelist on the British television talk show "Loose Women," confirmed his death at the age of 31 in an emotional tribute on the show's social media accounts.

"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 center of our world," the statement 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 and PHD."

According to reporting from "The Sun," Edwards suffered a heart attack at his home in Acton, West London. The newspaper talked to a friend of the entrepreneur that said, "The details are still not clear but we've been told that it was a heart attack."

That same pal, identified as Dwayne by the publication said Edwards, "was out DJing on Saturday night and eventually got home in the early hours of Sunday morning.

He added, "The family are still trying to come to terms with it all, but we've heard that his mum found him in his bedroom and called an ambulance."

Following the news, hundreds of fans attended a vigil in West London and scores of friends, musicians, celebrities and even the Prince of Wales took to the internet to share their grief at his passing.
“Thinking of the family of Jamal Edwards today," Prince Charles’ Clarence House office tweeted. "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.”

Edwards was given a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), an honor from the queen, in 2014 for services to music and also served as an ambassador for Prince Charles’ charity, the Prince’s Trust.

Singer Rita Orr, who along with Ed Sheeran, Jessie J and Stormzy, owe much of their early success to Edwards posted a heartfelt tribute on Instagram.

“My first ever interview was with you. Jamal,” she wrote. “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.”

International superstar Drake also had Edwards in his thoughts. SB.TV was the first U.K. platform to interview the former child actor turned music monolith as he was making the transition between acting and rapping.

"Sending condolences and love to the friends and family of Jamal Edwards," he wrote alongside a throwback picture of the pair he shared on his Instagram stories.

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