Singer and TV presenter Brenda Edwards has said her son Jamal was “the centre of our world” as she paid tribute to him following his death aged 31.
The Loose Women panellist thanked everyone for “messages of love and support” following the sudden death of SBTV founder Jamal, who gained fame from setting up the new music platform in 2006, which is often credited as helping to launch a string of UK music careers including Dave, Ed Sheeran and Jessie J.
He was also 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.
In a statement read out on ITV’s Good Morning Britain and shared on Loose Women’s Twitter account, Edwards said: “It is with the deepest heartache that I confirm that my beautiful son Jamal Edwards passed away yesterday morning.
“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.”
Tributes for Jamal poured in from across the British music industry and beyond, with Loose Women and ITV news presenter Charlene White tweeting: “Your light shone so brightly that it touched so many of us, impacted the lives of many more, and changed the game forever.
“And, you are my Brenda’s son. There are no words to describe her heartbreak, our heartbreak, now that your light has gone. Sometimes life is terribly unfair.”
Loose Women’s Denise Welch was also among the people sharing a message of condolence, tweeting: “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.”
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.”
Tributes also extended beyond the entertainment landscape, with Chelsea FC paying respects to the Blues superfan.
The football club wrote on Twitter: “We’re deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Jamal Edwards. An inspiration to many, we’re honoured that he was part of our Chelsea family.
“Our thoughts are with everyone who knew and loved him.”
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.”