An answer has been found to the question surrounding Gerald Levert's untimely death.
The R&B star, who passed away at age 40 on Nov. 10 at his Cleveland home, died from an accidental overdose of prescription and over-the-counter medications, according to a toxicology report released last week by the Cuyahoga County Coroner's Office, which performed Levert's autopsy.
The drugs found in Levert's system included the pain relievers Vicodin, Percocet and Darvocet, the anti-anxiety drug Xanax and two nonprescription antihistamines, Geauga County coroner Kevin Chartrand, who obtained the report Thursday, said.
Levert, who was the son of O'Jays frontman Eddie Levert and lead singer of the trio LeVert, died of accidental acute intoxication caused by the lethal combination of pills, which likely stopped Levert's breathing, Chartrand said.
"We didn't find sufficient cause to rule otherwise," he told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Family spokesman Andy Gibson said Levert was most likely taking the painkillers to combat a lingering shoulder problem and the aftereffects of surgery he had in 2005 to repair a severed Achilles tendon. Levert was on Xanax because he suffered from anxiety attacks, Gibson said.
The singer-songwriter-producer, who had just returned from a concert tour in South Africa, also was battling pneumonia when he died, which would explain the antihistamines in his bloodstream, Chartrand said.
"He definitely overexerted himself," Gibson told the Plain Dealer. "That's why it seems with the coroner's report, he just took too much."
Levert, whose best-known hits with LeVert included "Casanova," "(Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop) Goes My Mind" and "ABC-123," was up for a posthumous Grammy this year—along with Chaka Khan, Yolanda Adams and Carl Thomas—for Best R&B Performance with Vocals by a Duo or Group for the song "Everyday (Family Reunion)" from Madea's Family Reunion.
During a ceremony last Wednesday in honor of their hometown favorite, Cleveland city officials designated a stretch of East 25th Street at St. Clair Avenue as Gerald Levert Lane.
The velvety-voiced crooner's most recent offering was 2005's Voices, but Levert obviously had a gift that will keep on giving, literally. Shortly before his death, he wrapped up his 11th solo album, In My Songs, due out Tuesday on Atlantic Records, his longtime label.