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Jamal Edwards, who was known for founding SBTV, an online grime and rap music platform which helped launch the careers of artists such as Dave, Ed Sheeran, and Skepta, dies at the age of 31, in what was described as a “sudden illness” by her mother.

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. “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 Edwards with his mother, Brenda Edwards

Image Credit: nme.com

Edwards was born in Luton, and later moved to West London. He was appointed an MBE for his services to music in 2014. Edwards said that he started SBTV on a 20 pound phone, while he was still at school. His Youtube channel was created in 2006, and now has 1.6 million subscribers and nearly 1 billion views. The channel, named after Edwards’ rap name SmokeyBarz, featured artists including Rita Ora, Krept & Konan, Bugzy Malone, and many more.

“I always looked on grime like the punk movement, in terms of lyrics, and rebellious attitude,” Edwards told The Guardian in a 2017 interview.

Tributes for Edwards poured in on social media from people in the music industry, politics, the sports world, and many other institutions. 

Rapper AJ Tracey posted, “RIP Jamal Edwards, West London legend status.” Dave added: “Thank you for everything … words cannot explain.” Lethal Bizzle called Edwards “one of the pioneers in UK music”. Musician Example wrote on Instagram: “Can’t believe you’re gone. I am 31 years old. Can’t find the words right now.”

Ed Sheeran and the late Jamal Edwards pose for a picture.

Image Credit: qnewscrunch.com

Ed Sheeran was another musician who paid a heartfelt tribute to his close friend Jamal Edwards. Alongside a throwback picture of Jamal and himself, Ed said on Wednesday, “I haven’t posted anything coz I can’t find the words,” Sheeran said. “I can’t reply coz I don’t know what to say.”

Jamal’s final Instagram post, which was shared on February 17, was dedicated to Ed Sheeran in honour of his 31st birthday. “Happy Birthday to the OG Ed,” he wrote.  “Blessed to have you in my life brother. You know you’ve been mates a long time when you lose count on the years! Keep smashing it & inspiring us all G!”

Published by: HOLR Magazine.