Ed Sheeran breaks down in tears on stage as he discusses death of Jamal Edwards

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Ed Sheeran broke down in tears and admitted he just ‘wanted the world to stop’ after death of his friend Jamal Edwards during a performance of his new album Subtract.

During an intimate show with Apple Music Live at the Eventim Apollo in London on Wednesday, the singer, 32, dedicated two songs to the late music entrepreneur, as he discussed his grief and revealed: ‘I’m still not over it, I don’t want to be.’ 

In February 2022 Jamal died after a cardiac arrest brought on by taking cocaine and drinking alcohol, aged 31. 

Ed was left heart-broken, battling depression after his friend’s shock death explaining how he wished everyone would stand still ‘like when the Queen died.’

Playing the album in full for the first time for the live concert series, he was joined by a 12-piece band, including Aaron Dessner of The National.

Upset: Ed Sheeran, 32, broke down in tears and admitted he just 'wanted the world to stop' after death of his friend Jamal Edwards during a performance of his new album Subtract

Upset: Ed Sheeran, 32, broke down in tears and admitted he just ‘wanted the world to stop’ after death of his friend Jamal Edwards during a performance of his new album Subtract

Grief: During an intimate show with Apple Music Live the singer, 32, dedicated two songs to the late music entrepreneur, revealing: 'I'm still not over it, I don't want to be'

Grief: During an intimate show with Apple Music Live the singer, 32, dedicated two songs to the late music entrepreneur, revealing: ‘I’m still not over it, I don’t want to be’

As he addressed the audience ahead of Eyes Closed and Life Goes On, Ed began: ‘The last time I was in this venue was with my friend Jamal, to see a comedy show, and I’ve not been here since.

‘The first time I ever played this song, I cried when I introduced it, I cried at the start, I cried at the end and… I’m going to cry now.’

Breaking down in tears he wipe his face with a towel and continued: ‘I found this very cathartic to put out.

‘I always say these songs are mine until I put them out there, and then they belong to you guys.

‘It’s been heartbreaking as people share this song to their [Instagram] Stories, and relate to it, but it’s something that everyone goes through.

‘It’s just being an adult and this s*** just happens, everyone goes through it.’

Speaking ahead of Life Goes On, he continued: ‘I sing songs all the time but this is like, real life stuff. 

‘I felt like when the Jamal passed away that I wanted the world to just stop, like it did when the Queen died.’

Tough: As he addressed the audience ahead of Eyes Closed, Ed said: 'The first time I ever played this song, I cried when I introduced it, I cried at the end and... I'm going to cry now'

Tough: As he addressed the audience ahead of Eyes Closed, Ed said: ‘The first time I ever played this song, I cried when I introduced it, I cried at the end and… I’m going to cry now’

He continued: ‘I just didn’t feel ready and I still don’t really feel ready. Every one expects you to feel sad for a week or two and then everything carries on. But I’m still not over it, and I don’t want to be.’

Elsewhere, Ed discussed the tough period of his life that inspired the album, as he experienced Jamal’s death, a lawsuit, and a health scare with his wife.  

The hitmaker lost his pal just weeks after his wife Cherry Seaborn was diagnosed with cancer, and was forced to delay treatment as she was six months pregnant with her second child. 

‘It’s not just grief it’s real life. You can be 12-years-old and your youth is over and your real life begins when you have to deal with grief.

‘The moment you start feeling darkness, the youth ends,’ he explained. 

‘My dad said that you won’t ever experience real love until you experience grief. When he and my mum got married they experienced death and illness soon after getting married. He said that experience, it creates an unbreakable bond.’

Awful: The hitmaker lost his pal just weeks after his wife Cherry Seaborn was diagnosed with cancer, and was forced to delay treatment as she was six months pregnant

Awful: The hitmaker lost his pal just weeks after his wife Cherry Seaborn was diagnosed with cancer, and was forced to delay treatment as she was six months pregnant 

Moving: 'My dad said that you won't ever experience real love until you experience grief,' he candidly explained

Moving: ‘My dad said that you won’t ever experience real love until you experience grief,’ he candidly explained

Recalling the past year, he added: ‘Last year, was when that unbreakable bond [with his own wife Cherry] was made and I know you should feel like that with marriage and children anyway. 

‘But I really think if we can get through that, if we can get through 2022, then we can get through anything.’

Ed’s performance kicked off Season Two of Apple Music Live – the live performance series that gives the biggest stars in music a stage to connect with audiences around the world. 

Explore the full lineup of past performances in the Apple Music Live archive.



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