Balladeer Gerald Levert dies unexpectedly

Gugu Sibiya

Gugu Sibiya

Gerald Levert, 40, the balladeer whose romantic music never failed to touch lovers' hearts all over the world, has died.

The singer who left South Africa after sterling performances with his father, Eddie, in Sun City, Pilanesberg, and Carnival City, in Boksburg two weeks ago, died on Friday night.

Levert is said to have suffered a heart attack at his Cleveland, Ohio home in the US.

Sharing the stage with his dynamic father, Gerald's performance alternated effortlessly with that of his father. Obviously enjoying themselves, the duo constantly joked, teased and inspired each other while on stage fortnight ago.

Sounding jovial during a backstage rendezvous, the singer was excited to have realised his dream of performing with his father on a follow-up visit to this country.

He was also delighted to catch up with Sowetan, following the interview I had with him two years ago when he was here to receive a Kora All Africa Award as well as being guest performer at the ceremony. He was also upbeat about meeting Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and her daughter, Zinzi.

Eddie Levert was adamant they would return early next year with the O'Jays. Gerald, whose voice sounded uncannily like that of his famous father, could not have escaped showbiz after growing up in a household saturated with such beautiful music.

Madikizela-Mandela is expected to be among those paying their respects when funeral arrangements have been completed.