Though no specific cause of death has been formally confirmed, friends of Edwards have claimed (via Metro) that the influential British author, broadcaster, DJ and founder of SB.TV passed away from a heart attack. In a statement, his mother said Edwards had succumbed to a “sudden illness”.
Dave was one of the many artists Edwards championed before his mainstream breakout, as he told fans at the O2: “Jamal Edwards is the reason I’m standing in front of you guys here today. There’s so many different emotions that all of us feel – all of us that were so connected to him in so many different ways.
“We all have a different experience to him, but we all have so many things in common with the experience. And he’s one person in the world that just wanted to help, that just wanted to see every single person that he touched shine.”
— George Garner (@george_garner8) February 28, 2022
The rapper went on to reflect on his first meeting with Edwards, which happened during the former’s tenure at the Richmond upon Thames College in Twickenham. “He gave me an opportunity when no-one would,” Dave said, noting that when he was unable to afford the production costs for his earliest music videos, Edwards bankrolled them “out of the love and kindness of his heart”.
He continued: “Every single thing that I have today – we have today – we owe to Jamal Edwards… I want to say I’m so, so, so grateful for you, brother. Jamal, I love you, I love you, I love you.”
While still a teenager, Edwards started SB.TV in 2006 to document the UK grime scene. The YouTube channel grew into a multimillion-pound online youth broadcaster. The channel also had some of the first, exclusive performances from the likes of Jake Bugg, Banks and Clean Bandit. It also helped to launch the careers of artists like Dave, Ed Sheeran, Jessie J and many more.
In 2014, Edwards received an MBE in the Queens New Year’s Honours List. At 24, he was one of the youngest people to ever receive the honour. Writing about receiving his MBE on Facebook in 2014, Edwards – who was also an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust – commented: “I’m honoured to be one of the youngest people awarded with an MBE on this years New Honours list.
“Never in a million years did I ever think I would receive such an accolade. For me this is about us the YOUTH, with so much negativity around us it’s hard sometimes to stay positive and fight for your dreams.”
Among the other artists to share tributes in Edwards’ honour are Jake Bugg and Ed Sheeran. Chelsea fans also held a minute’s applause during the club’s Champions League game against Lille last Tuesday (February 24). A similar tribute will be held by Luton Town FC on Wednesday night (March 2), with their match day playlist also dedicated to Edwards.