Gerald Levert, the fiery singer of passionate R&B love songs and the son of O’Jays singer Eddie Levert, died Friday in Cleveland, Ohio of an apparent heart attack. He was 40.
“All of us at Atlantic are shocked and deeply saddened by his untimely death. He was one of the greatest voices of our time, who sang with unmatched soulfulness and power, as well as a tremendously gifted composer and an accomplished producer,” said a statement from his label, Atlantic Records.
Levert, known as “G-Bear” to his fans, first gained fame back in 1986, as a member of the R&B trio LeVert, which also included his brother, Sean. They quickly racked up hits like “(Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop) Goes My Mind,” “Casanova,” and “Baby I’m Ready.”
But Gerald Levert’s voice — powerful and soulful, almost a carbon-copy of his father’s — was always the focal point, and in 1991, he made his solo debut with the album “Private Line,” which included a hit duet with his dad, “Baby Hold on to Me.”
Levert became known for his sensual, romantic songs, but unlike a Luther Vandross, whose voice and songs were more genteel, Levert’s music was explosive and raw.
His most recent album was 2005’s “Voices.”