It's never easy for a parent to say goodbye to a child, let alone two of them. Eddie Levert lost two grown sons within the space of 16 months and once opened up about his regrets and what gives him the much-needed encouragement.
The legendary O’Jays singer knows what it means to be overwhelmed by tragedy. While he's had his fair share of successes, he had to go through some painful times in his personal life.
Eddie lost his first son, Gerald, in November 2006. The rising singer died as a result of an accidental overdose of prescription and over-the-counter meds and was just 40.
HIS SECOND SON'S DEATH
To cope with Gerald's death, the legend threw himself into work. However, just a year and four months later, tragedy struck again when Sean passed away.
“That really destroyed him,” said Walter Williams, Eddie’s friend/co-founder of O’Jays. Sean died after suffering withdrawal from his anti-anxiety medicine, Xanax, while in police custody for non-payment of child support.
Eddie loved his sons very much, and he once admitted that losing them was not an easy thing. In fact, after his sons passed away, he wanted to blame himself for their deaths because he believed there were some things he could have kept them from seeing while they were growing up. He said:
"I wanted to really blame myself because I felt like it was some things I could’ve kept them from seeing that I did in my life, as a father."
HOLDING ON TO MEMORIES
“But I can’t dwell on it,” he added, getting emotional during the interview. “I really miss them. It’s just hard. But I can’t get caught up in the fact that it wasn’t supposed to be like this because it happened.”
Now, with the boys gone, Eddie revealed he finds solace in “God’s strength" and the music memories he shares with them. He remembers his time onstage with his sons as one of the best things he's ever done in his lifetime.
Walter Williams, Eric Grant and Eddie Levert of The O'Jays perfom during A Capitol Fourth rehearsals on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building | Source: Getty Images
Eddie admits that although his sons are no longer with him, they remain his inspiration whenever he goes up on stage. Eddie released several of his late son Gerald’s unfinished projects, including the Grammy Award-winning album “In My Songs” and some duets they created together.
Eddie shared his late sons with his ex-wife Martha. In January 2020, it was revealed that she passed away. Her granddaughter Carlysia confirmed the news and expressed her love for the late matriarch on social media.
Her late son Gerald once referred to his mother as an "angel," and Eddie once called her a "great woman" who had to deal with a version of him that did not know who he was or what he should've been doing.
The singer has been married to his current wife, Raquel, since 2005, and they have a daughter named Ryan. Sean was a dad to four kids named Chad, Shareaun, Brandon, and Breoni, while Gerald was a dad to three kids named Carlysia, Camryn, and LaMicah.
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