Gerald Levert, Soulful Teddy Bear

When R&B powerhouse Gerald Levert died five years ago today, he was still at the top of his game, singing his way through a career that just wouldn't quit.

It all started in 1984, when Levert – the son of O'Jays singer Eddie Levert – along with his brother Sean Levert and friend Marc Gordon, formed the band LeVert. A couple of solid albums followed and received attention on the R&B charts – but in 1987, they exploded out of the gate with The Big Throwdown and its crossover hit, "Casanova."

Gerald Levert was the standout of the trio, and in 1991 he made a run for a solo career. A string of successes followed, including the operatic "Taking Everything."

Even when Gerald Levert died on November 10, 2006, his career wasn't over. His album In My Songs was released posthumously in 2007, and the title track was a Grammy winner – Gerald Levert's first.

Gerald Levert's early death – the singer was just 40 years old – was unexpected and devastating to his fans. A glance at his online guest book shows how much his fans loved and respected him, and how much they miss him to this day.

• To the Levert Family, I heard Baby I'm Ready the other day, it really made me realize how much I really miss Gerald. I never met him but, musically I feel like I have. May god continue to bless all of you.

• Thought about you today. did indeed have a moment. your music keeps me well. and it fills my heart with joy to hear your voice. wishing you were here to do an in my songs tour. missing you.

• Summertime is still really hard, my hubby and I based our trips on wherever you were in concert, Our summers will never be the same because you were the greatest, Rest In Peace

• I remember a young Gerald who showed up at the Five Devils club in Akron Ohio one night and turned it out! He danced with my sister and she still talks about it to this day! He was a great man and is sorely missed! We still listen to all his music. What a great loss to our world!