Jamal Edwards died after a cardiac arrest brought on after taking cocaine, a coroner has ruled.
The music entrepreneur’s mum, singer and Loose Women presenter Brenda Edwards described him as “a beautiful and selfless person” in a statement read to the inquest.
The 53-year-old previously said she believes it is critical to “help drive more conversation about the unpredictability of recreational drugs” after her son died of “cardiac arrhythmia caused by having taken recreational drugs”.
After founding the music platform SBTV in 2006, Jamal Edwards helped to catapult a slew of UK music performers to popularity, including Ed Sheeran, Dave and Jessie J.
The inquest heard three small snap bags containing the remnants of white powder were found on the 31-year-old after he collapsed in February this year.
Who was Jamal Edwards?
The entrepreneur gained fame from setting up SBTV in 2006, a web-based platform championing new music, particularly in the genres of hip-hop and grime.
Edwards was a teenager when he launched the broadcasting and production film channel 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 had worked with and helped to launch the UK music careers of the likes of Jessie J, Emeli Sande, Dave, and Ed Sheeran.
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.
Speaking to PA after being made an MBE, he said he started SBTV to give his friends a platform, and to try to help them get their videos on MTV.
He added: “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.”
In the same interview, he described his working relationship with musicians as “symbiotic”.
“50% is the talent and 50% is the platform,” he said. “I try to focus on people that haven’t got the platform. As well as getting a really well-known artist I want to get the up-and-coming ones as well.”
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.”
Loose Women’s Denise Welch said: “My heart aches for my friend Brenda. I can’t bear it. Jamal Edwards was a wonderful son and brother.”
What happened to Jamal Edwards?
Edwards died of a heart attack on 20 February 2022, at the age of 31.
The inquest heard that Jamal died after having a heart attack at his mother’s address in Acton.
Assistant Coroner Catherine Wood said: “He came home late one evening, after which he became increasingly agitated and suffered a cardiac arrest.
“He was deteriorating despite treatment and died on 20 February of this year. A post-mortem has been undertaken and I have reason to suspect that the death was an unnatural death.”
Edwards’ mother Brenda Edwards released a statement at the time of her son’s death, in which she said he died “after a sudden illness”.
Released on the official Twitter account of ITV’s Loose Women, her statement said: “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 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.”
What did the coroner say?
Summing up at West London Coroner’s Court, Assistant West London Coroner Ivor Collett said: “He had worked as a DJ at a venue in Islington.
“At around 4.30am he arrived at home and joined his close friend.
“They had some drinks and had arranged to smoke cannabis. Although he appeared normal at first his behaviour changed and he exhibited signs of anxiety, paranoia and irritation.
“Despite his friend’s efforts to calm him down he began throwing things around the room before collapsing on the floor.
“The police found drug paraphernalia, the toxicology tests found recent evidence of drug use.
“The insinuation is that Jamal had taken cocaine in sufficient quantity to cause an adverse reaction brought about by cocaine toxicity. This then caused cardiac arrhythmia which resulted in his death.”
What has his mother said?
In a statement read to the hearing, Brenda Edwards said: “Jamal was a beautiful and selfless person.
“Since growing up with his family in Acton he made it his personal mission to open doors for others to walk through.
“To help people through life, to love and to laugh. And most importantly, to just make people happy.”
She added: “Jamal helped so many, working tirelessly to give a platform to people.
“His charitable work stretched near and far, from working at homeless shelters to giving back to his roots in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
“We are so proud of everything Jamal achieved over the course of his 31 years and how he impacted others’ lives. We miss him so much.”
In May, Brenda Edwards appeared on Good Morning Britain to speak about setting up a trust in her son’s name – The Jamal Edwards Self Belief Trust.
She told GMB presenters Susanna Reid and Richard Madeley: “He was this lovely, happy person that always wanted to connect this one to this one, without even thinking about himself most of the time… it was just about helping others.”
She also spoke about how she is managing to “make sense of” her son’s death, saying: “I’m managing to do it, because Jamal’s mantra was about self-belief, which is why I’ve named the trust (the) Jamal Edwards Self Belief Trust.”
She later added: “I talk to him every morning and every night. I say ‘Hello, good morning, baby, good night, baby.’
“I just talk about anything. I do get a lot of strength in that and he inspired me a lot.”
What was Jamal Edwards’ net worth?
According to celebritynetworth.com, Edwards’ net worth was estimated to be around $10 million (£7.3 million).