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Jamal Edwards, UK Music Entrepreneur, Dead at 31

The founder of SBTV helped gain international attention for stars including Ed Sheeran, Jessie J, Rita Ora and more

Jamal Edwards, a music entrepreneur who helped launch the careers of many British artists, has died. He was 31.

Jamal’s mother, Brenda Edwards, who is a host on the U.K. daytime show “Loose Women,” confirmed his death on Monday morning in a statement shared to the show’s Twitter account.

“It is with the deepest heartache that I confirm that my beautiful son Jamal Edwards passed away yesterday morning after a sudden illness,” she wrote. “Myself, his sister Tanisha and the rest of his family and friends are completely devastated. He was the center of our world.”

“As we come to terms with his passing we ask for privacy to grieve this unimaginable loss,” Brenda continued. “I would like to thank everyone for their messages of love and support.”

She added: “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.”

Jamal launched his own career in 2006 when he started his online music channel, SmokeyBarz TV (SBTV). On the platform, he began filming performances by friends and other rising talent in the U.K., which was instrumental in gaining international attention for stars including Ed Sheeran, Jessie J, Stormzy and Rita Ora, according to the Associated Press and BBC.

In 2014, Jamal received an MBE, a Member of the Order of the British Empire, from Queen Elizabeth II. The rank is given to individuals whose service has had a long-term, significant impact on the community. Jamal was also an ambassador for Prince Charles’ charity, the Prince’s Trust — an organization that helps young people create their own companies.

Following the news of Jamal’s death, Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla’s Clarence House’s Twitter account shared a statement of condolence: “Thinking of the family of Jamal Edwards today. 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.”

Tributes poured in on social media to honor Jamal. In an Instagram post, Rita Ora wrote: “My first ever interview was with you. Jamal, 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. No words can describe how grateful I am to of been in your presence. Thank you for all you ever showed me.”

“Thank you for everything??❤️ words can’t explain,” rapper Dave wrote on Twitter.