Jamal Edwards, a British music entrepreneur and YouTube star who helped launch the careers of artists from the likes of Ed Sheeran, Jessie J and Dave, has died at age 31.
Edwards was the founder of online music platform SBTV, which helped kickstart the careers of a dazzling array of now-famous musicians.
Edwards’ mother, singer and “Loose Women” presenter Brenda Edwards, confirmed her son’s death in a statement shared on Loose Women’s official Twitter page early Monday morning.
“It is with the deepest heartache that I confirm that my beautiful son Jamal Edwards passed away (Sunday) morning after a sudden illness,” she said.
The loss, she said, has left her family “completely devastated.”
“He was the center of our world,” she said, as she thanked the public for their messages of love and support and requested privacy for her family.
“Jamal was an inspiration to myself and so many. Our love for him lives on, his legacy lives on,” she added.
It was not immediately clear what illness Edwards had suffered from. A representative for Brenda Edwards referred NBC News to her statement. SBTV did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.
Edwards was an early YouTube user, using the platform to share music and videos he recorded of upcoming artists. He went on to found SBTV, becoming a prominent figure in the music world.
In his last Instagram post, shared on Feb. 17, Edwards wished Sheeran a happy birthday, writing: “Blessed to have you in my life brother. You know you’ve been mates a long time when you lose count on the years!”
While Edwards’ work played a pivotal role in helping launch the careers of a number of mainstream artists, including Sheeran’s, he was also celebrated as a key player in the British rap and grime music.
In 2014, Edwards was appointed an MBE for services to music. He also became an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust, a charity run by the Prince of Wales that helps young people establish their own businesses.
The music entrepreneur had attended the Brit Awards earlier this month, according to the BBC.
Tributes poured in Monday in the wake of Edwards’ death.
“We’ve lost a legend today. Jamal Edwards was an inspiration to so many, supporting artists and shaping culture through @SBTVonline,” a statement posted to YouTube’s official Twitter account said. “Sending our condolences to Jamal’s family & community,” it said.
“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,” actor Adam Deacon said in a tweet. “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.”
“Rest in Peace, Jamal Edwards. To think how many dreams were fulfilled and how much potential was discovered because of your platform and work,” comedian Munya Chawawa said in a tweet. “What an incredible legacy; thank you.”