Gerald LeVert, one of R&B's most soulful voices of the last decade, died suddenly Friday at his home in Cleveland, Ohio. LeVert, the son of Eddie LeVert of the O'Jays, was 40 years old.

His record label, Atlantic Records, described him in a statement as an "exceptional human being."

"All of us at Atlantic are shocked and deeply saddened by his untimely death," the statement said. "[He] sang with unmatched soulfulness and power. Gerald has been a member of our family for two decades, both with the group LeVert and as a solo artist, and he will be greatly missed by everyone who had the pleasure and privilege of working with him through the years."

Sylvia Rhone, who headed Elektra Entertainment during LeVert's tenure there, said she is "stunned and deeply saddened by the news."

"He was a brother to me; a trusted confidante, a loyal friend, a real soulmate," she said. "But most importantly, he was a loving son and father who blessed us all with his indelible musical presence and leaves us with so many wonderful lifelong memories."

While Gerald grew up in the music business with his father in the legendary R&B group the O'Jays, Gerald launched his own career in 1987. His group LeVert scored several hits, including their debut song "Casanova." Additionally, Gerald recorded albums as a solo artist, as a part of the trio LSG with Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill, and a set with his father.

Gerald's former publicist Lisa Jefferson said he was incredibly close to his father. "They performed together and recorded together," Jefferson said. "Gerald is a mini Eddie LeVert. He sounded just like his dad. It's just a horrible loss."

A spokesperson for the elder Levert said she expected to have a statement in the next day.

courtesy of Yahoo News