R&B singer Gerald Levert is dead at 40

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Singer Gerald Levert, one of the most popular R&B stars of the '90s as a solo artist and a member of the groups Levert and LSG, died of a heart attack Friday in Cleveland. He was 40.

Levert and his brother Sean, also a member of Levert, were second-generation soul men: Their father was vocalist Eddie Levert of '70s hitmakers the O'Jays.

Levert's career lifted off in 1986, when he formed his eponymous group with his brother and childhood friend Marc Gordon. Through the early '90s, the trio scored a string of top R&B hits, including the No. 1 smashes "(Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop) Goes My Mind," "Casanova" (which made it to No. 5 on the pop singles chart), "Addicted to You," "Just Coolin' " and "Baby I'm Ready." Gerald's impassioned old school-styled attack often summoned up comparisons with his father's work.

He hit the solo trail in 1991, quickly racking up No. 1 R&B singles with "Private Line" and "Baby Hold on to Me." The latter song was a collaboration with Eddie Levert; the duo appeared together on the album "Father and Son."

In 1997, the singer fans called "G-Bear" stepped into another popular unit, LSG, a supergroup that also featured Keith Sweat and former New Edition member Johnny Gill. The group's self-titled album went double platinum and spawned the No. 1 R&B and No. 4 pop hit "My Body."

Levert went on to record several solo albums. He also wrote, produced or backed such R&B talents as Barry White, Stephanie Mills, Teddy Pendergrass and Patti LaBelle.

Levert is survived by four children.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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