British entrepreneur Jamal Edwards has died at the age of 31, his manager has confirmed.
Edwards gained fame from setting up new music platform SBTV – helping to launch a string of UK music careers including Dave and Jessie J.
He was 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.
His manager told the PA news agency that Edwards died on Sunday morning.
Tributes to Edwards have flooded social media with many expressing their condolences to his mother, the Loose Women panellist Brenda Edwards who finished fourth in the second series of the X Factor in 2005.
Loose Women’s Denise Welch said: “My heart aches for my friend Brenda. I can’t bear it. Jamal Edwards was a wonderful son and brother.”
Bafta-winning actor writer, director, and producer Adam Deacon, known for his leading role in Kidulthood, said he was “heartbroken” about Edwards’ death.
He 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.”
Edwards was a teenager when he launched the youth broadcasting and production film channel 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.
Speaking to PA 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.”
In the same interview, he described his working relationship with musicians as “symbiotic”.
“50% is the talent and 50% is the platform,” he said.
“I try to focus on people that haven’t got the platform. As well as getting a really well-known artist I want to get the up-and-coming ones as well.”