Edward “Eddie” Willis Levert, 80, fell victim to a false rumor that he had died in January 2023, presumably taking advantage of the fact that he appeared close to being hospitalized with covid-19 towards the end of last year – he is alive.
Death hoaxes are part of the fabric of the Internet. They prey on the fact that news can travel around the world in an instant, and appear on social media websites without context.
Journalist Roland Sebastian Martin took to Twitter to inform Levert’s fans that he spoke directly with Eddie and his wife Raquel, and confirms that the O’Jays vocalist is alive and going strong.
“Story is a lie. I literally just got off the phone with Raquel and Eddie. Talked to them. Had a conversation. This stuff is hurtful to the families,” he said.
Fans worried about what may have happened to Eddie Levert as false death hoax spreads
Eddie’s phone was apparently “blowing up all morning,” Roland Martin says in his video clarifying the fact that Levert is, in fact, alive.
“Please, don’t do this c**p. Don’t spread this c**p. If anything had happened to Eddie, I’d have been one of the first people to get a phone call. So please, y’all, don’t spread it. Eddie Levert is with us.”
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Half an hour earlier, Martin tweeted that he had woken up to an Instagram post from a celebrity saying Eddie Levert had become “an ancestor.”
Others took to Twitter to say the same. One even said this was the “second time someone has tried this shenanigan,” as in, spread a false death rumor relating to Eddie Levert.
Was Eddie Levert hospitalized with covid-19 last year?
Not hospitalized, but Soul Tracks reported in June 2022 that fans of The O’Jays were “praying” for Levert’s life after it emerged that Eddie had contracted covid-19.
He was unable to perform part of the initial leg of the band’s farewell tour. The outlet quotes group members Walter Williams and Eric Nolan as saying to their live audience that Levert had been “coming to rehearsals every single day.”
“And he was preparing himself for this moment right here. And then he contracted covid. So he’s under a doctor’s care and he’s doing pretty good, he’s coming along.”
In other words, a doctor was looking after him, but there was no indication that Eddie Levert was hospitalized, per se.
But the case continued for some time
A month later, on July 16, 2022, The O’Jays posted on Facebook to say that Levert had caught a “severe case” of covid-19 while rehearsing for The Last Stop on The Love Train tour.
“He is recovering,” the post reads. “And expects to be back on the road soon, but is still not quite well enough to perform.”
It made their return to Canton all the more significant, writes The Canton Repository. At the onset of the pandemic, Walter Williams Sr was “severely ill” with covid-19, and fell into a diabetic coma.
“I stayed in that coma for about a week and a half and I woke up,” Williams told the outlet. “I needed dialysis because my kidneys had stopped working.”
He was in hospital for more than a month – thankfully, Eddie Levert’s bout of covid-19 appears to have been markedly less severe.
What plans does Eddie Levert have for 2023?
The O’Jays’ Last Stop On The Love Train tour was due to conclude on September 8, but Eddie Levert’s ill health pushed a few concert dates into 2023.
In September, a representative for the band confirmed to Rated R&B that Levert was still recovering.
Ticketmaster shows three postponed concerts that will have to take place in 2023. They are in Houston (TX), Beverly Hills (CA) and Dallas (TX). It’s not yet clear when they will happen.
The Canton Repository quotes Levert as saying, in a post on Facebook last autumn, that he was “recovering from covid pneumonia. … It was really bad,” he reportedly said. “I’m fortunate to have made it.”
All of which indicates that, even if he went through a rocky patch last year with regard to his health, Levert is back to being alive and well, and ready to take on what 2023 has to offer.