Jamal Edwards: Cause of death was cardiac arrest after cocaine and alcohol intake, coroner finds

Edwards’ friend Nick Hopper told the inquest that the entrepreneur was ‘panicking and sweating’ and acting ‘paranoid’ before he died

Ellie Harrison
Tuesday 02 August 2022 13:27 BST
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Jamal Edwards’ cause of death was a cardiac arrest after using cocaine and drinking alcohol, a coroner has concluded.

Edwards, the British entrepreneur who founded the pioneering online music platform SBTV, died at the age of 31 in February.

He gained fame as the chief executive of SBTV, which helped to launch the careers of chart-topping artists including Ed Sheeran, Stormzy and Jessie J.

In June, when Edwards’ mother, Loose Women star Brenda, announced that her son had been taking recreational drugs before he died, she said she was in a “state of shock”.

An inquest has since been held in London into Edwards’s death. There was evidence of cocaine toxicity in Edwards’ body, assistant coroner Ivor Collett said, adding that the cause of death was cardiac arrhythmia, following cocaine use.

The inquest heard that Edwards had returned to his mother’s home in Acton at 4am in the early hours of Sunday 20 February after playing a DJ set in North London, and stayed up drinking and smoking marijuana with his friend Nick Hopper.

According to a report in the Mirror, Hopper told the inquest: “When he came in he appeared to be his normal self and it appeared that he had just been out.

“We began to chat, smoke some weed and drink. He told me he was under a lot of pressure. There were periods of talking followed by silences.

“Over time Jamal became quite paranoid and was saying I had things in my hands when I didn’t. Anytime I moved he began panicking. I told him to calm down, but he became increasingly irate.

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“He was grabbing things, throwing them around the room. He was panicking and sweating, I spent ages trying to get him to open the door.”

Ed Sheeran and Jamal Edwards

He said Edwards would not let him open a window and he collapsed by the bathroom door.

Hopper and Edwards’ uncle, Rodney Artman, tried to perform CPR until paramedics arrived. Edwards did not regain consciousness and was declared dead at 10.36am on Sunday 20 February.

At the age of 15, Edwards launched his platform after recording his friends performing on the estate where he lived in Acton, west London. He quickly catapulted to success, and was awarded an MBE in 2014 for services to music.

Brenda described him as “a beautiful and selfless person” in a statement read to the inquest.

If you or someone you know is suffering from drug addiction, you can seek confidential help and support 24-7 from Frank, by calling 0300 123 6600, texting 82111, sending an email or visiting their website here.

In the US, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can be reached at 1-800-662-HELP.

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