Jamal Edwards, a British music entrepreneur who helped singers such as Ed Sheeran, Jessie J, and Stormzy establish their careers, has died. He was 31 years old.

His mother, Brenda Edwards, a broadcaster, said her son died Sunday after a sudden illness. She said the family was “completely devastated. He was the center of our world.”

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As a teenager in 2006, Edwards launched the online music station SBTV. He began taping concerts by friends in his west London neighbourhood since he couldn’t find the music he liked online. SBTV today boasts over 1.2 million YouTube subscribers and has aided a generation of artists in gaining national and worldwide recognition.

“It was a frustration of going to school and everyone talking about ‘How do we get our videos on MTV,’” Edwards later recalled. “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.’

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“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 2014, Edwards was awarded an MBE by the Queen for services to music, and he served as an ambassador for Prince Charles’ organisation, the Prince’s Trust.

His untimely death stunned the entertainment industry in the United Kingdom.

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“My first ever interview was with you. Jamal,” singer Rita Ora wrote on Instagram. “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.”

Actor Adam Deacon said he was “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. He was an inspiration and what he achieved in life was truly remarkable.”

Rapper and producer Example, whose full name is Elliot Gleave, said: “Can’t believe you’re gone. 31 years old. Can’t find the words right now.”

(with inputs from AP)