The West London native died from a “sudden illness,” his mother Brenda Edwards said in a statement.
“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,” his mother, who hosts the British TV show “Loose Women,” said.
“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,” she continued. “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.”
Edwards first gained recognition in 2006 when he launched the online music platform SmokeyBarz TV (SBTV) to showcase up-and-coming artists. The platform helped start the careers of Ed Sheeran, Jessie J, Rita Ora, Skepta and more; and its YouTube channel now has 1.2 million subscribers and nearly 1 billion total views.
Speaking to BBC Radia 1Xtra in 2017, Edwards explained why he launched the platform.
“Everyone in my area was an MC and I thought, ‘Alright, if everyone is doing MCing what else can I do that’s around the music?’” he recalled. “I remember I was just sitting there and was thinking, ‘Why can’t I find these online?’ and if they were online it was just bad quality versions, so I thought, ‘Alright cool, I’m going to try and film people in my area and upload it to YouTube.’ And from there it just started building and growing.”
Edwards later turned to philanthropy and became an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust, a youth charity program run by the Prince of Wales that supports young entrepreneurs starting their own companies. In 2015, a then-24-year-old Edwards received the Member of the British Empire award from Prince William for his work in philanthropy and music.
On social media, artists and fans reacted to his tragic passing.
“My first ever interview was with you,” Rita Ora wrote on Instagram. “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. My heart goes out to [Brenda Edwards] and the whole family. RIP.”
See his mother’s statement and more tweets below. Rest in Peace.
After the devastating death of Jamal, our thoughts are with Brenda today. She’s sent us this message: pic.twitter.com/EZWH3b5tcX
— Loose Women (@loosewomen) February 21, 2022
I used to talk to this 15 y/o kid on MSN & we compared notes on cameras in my early Despacam days.
That kid went on to become a giant by the name of Jamal Edwards. He left the door open & 1000s of us ran through it.
Thank you so much Jamal 🕊❤️.
An unquantifiable impact pic.twitter.com/VvBliln05J
— Despa Robinson (@DespaRobinson) February 20, 2022
You can really see how many people Jamal came into contact with & helped. He gave me my first media job fresh out of Uni at SBTV and I’ve seen so many stories like it from presenters to musicians and everyone inbetween. An impactful life ❤️
— Henrie (@HenrieVIII) February 20, 2022
Jamal Put out The Last Whip for me it’s crazy 💔
— TRAPO (@ktrap19) February 20, 2022
I swear to God I didn’t want to do this freestyle. I was deep in the streets & told Jamal I don’t wanna do music. He said I’m the best freestyler he knows & begged me to just do 1 F64. The opportunities that opened up after this I owe him so much. God have mercy on his soul 💔 pic.twitter.com/L6nVKamHtj
— DON STRAPZY *SE DØNS* (@DonStrapzy_) February 20, 2022
Fly high brother. Thank you for everything pic.twitter.com/QhEs4KVwvI
— Alhan Gençay (@alhan) February 20, 2022
RIP Jamal Edwards, west london legend status ✊🏽👑💙
— 🥷🏽 (@ajtracey) February 20, 2022
It’s not fair man. Life ain’t fair. Your legacy will always live on. “Self belief” was your motto and I, like many others, have carried and will continue to carry that through with everything I do.
RIP Jamal pic.twitter.com/l7A9SVJxXo
— ksi (@KSI) February 20, 2022
You took us kids from a council estate to voices in the mainstream and by that helped us provide for all our families.
We’re forever in debt to you.
— hardy caprio (@HardyCaprio) February 20, 2022
Saving one life is something to be proud of. Saving multiple is something to be celebrated for.
Here is a man who saved all of our lives whether you were watching his vids or an artist he gave opportunity.
R.I.P Jamal Edwards.
Those good deeds will always follow you. pic.twitter.com/Gc2eIM10DG
— hardy caprio (@HardyCaprio) February 20, 2022
1/2 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. pic.twitter.com/0ILKrIXtxH
— Adam Deacon (@realadamdeacon) February 20, 2022