Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Two Artists Gone Too Soon...

Sean Levert's Family Asks FBI To Investigate Singer's Death In Jail:
R&B singer died in a Cleveland jail over the weekend at age 39.

Gerald Levert, Martha Levert and Sean Levert
Photo: Vince Bucci/ Getty Images

Video: Just Coolin'~Levert Featuring Heavy D

By Gil Kaufman

Two days after R&B singer Sean Levert died in police custody at the Cuyahoga County Jail in Cleveland, his family has asked the FBI to investigate the 39-year-old's death. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, cousin Michael Gibson said Tuesday (April 1) that the family is wondering if the reported "bizarre behavior" exhibited by Levert shortly before he died could have been a result of withdrawal from an anxiety medication he had been taking.

Levert, who was jailed March 24 after being found guilty of owing two women and their three children almost $90,000 in child support, was reportedly shouting unintelligibly and pounding on his cell door Sunday night, prompting guards to place him in a restraint chair with his wrists strapped down and his feet shackled to the floor.

"We wanted to prevent him from injuring himself," Warden Kevin McDonough told the paper.

Though a videotape of Levert strapped to the chair exists, it will not be released until after an investigation has been completed. "He was calm in the chair and then began to have shallow breathing. We called in our medical team and got him to the hospital," McDonough said, stressing that there was no physical altercation between Levert and the officers or other inmates in the week that he was in the jail. Gibson said his cousin had never had the kind of "crazy outburst" guards described. He added that Levert paid child support, "just not through proper channels."

Levert, who the paper said had battled a drug habit, died at the Lutheran Hospital after becoming ill at the jail, where he was awaiting transport to state prison to begin serving a 22-month sentence on the child-support charges.

The Plain Dealer also reported that it could be up to six weeks before toxicology tests on Levert are completed. Levert had told authorities that he was a chronic marijuana smoker and had high blood pressure but did not take medication to treat it.

It was the second tragedy in the family in as many years, following the November 2006 death of Sean's Grammy-winning older brother, Gerald Levert, who died from an accidental mix of prescription and over-the-counter medications at age 40. The brothers' father, Eddie Levert, 65, of the O'Jays, is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member.

Sean Levert had revived the band Levert last year along with group co-founder Marc Gordon as a way to honor the memory of Gerald.

British Artist Angus Fairhurst Dies

A March 2, 2004 photo from files of contemporary artists, Damien Hurst, left, Sarah Lucas, centre and Angus Fairhurst in London. Angus Fairhurst, one of the group of 'Young British Artists' who stormed the international art scene in the 1990's, has died. He was 41. Spokeswoman Erica Bolton said Fairhurst committed suicide Saturday during a walk in a remote part of Scotland. She did not specify how he died.
(AP Photo/PA, Fiona Hanson, Files)

Angus Fairhurst, one of the group of "Young British Artists" who stormed the international art scene in the 1990s, has died, a spokeswoman said Monday. He was 41.

Erica Bolton said Fairhurst committed suicide Saturday during a walk in a remote part of Scotland. The artist hanged himself from a tree, police said.

Fairhurst's representative told the Daily Telegraph newspaper the artist committed suicide Saturday on the last day of his third solo show at a London gallery.

Strathclyde Police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding Fairhurst's death.

His body was found in a remote Highland woods near the Bridge of Orchy, the newspaper said.

Born in 1966 in Penbury, southern England, Fairhurst studied at London's Goldsmiths College in the 1980s, where his contemporaries included Damien Hirst, Gary Hume and Sarah Lucas.

They and their work — first exhibited in the 1988 exhibition "Freeze" — were central to the group of provocative and playful young artists. Patronage by collector Charles Saatchi and intense media attention brought riches and fame to several of the group, notably Hirst and Tracey Emin.

Fairhurst had a lower profile, but his paintings, sculptures and installations were exhibited around the world.

His work was included in the 2000 "Apocalypse" exhibition at the Royal Academy. In 2004, Fairhurst, Lucas and Hirst collaborated on the "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" show at Tate Britain.

Fairhurst's last show was at London's Sadie Coles gallery last month.

Fairhurst "made some of the most engaging, witty and perceptive works of his generation and was an enormously influential friend of other British artists who came to prominence in the early '90s," said Tate director Nicholas Serota. "We shall all miss him greatly."

Hirst said Fairhurst was "a great artist and a great friend."

"He always supported me, in fair weather and foul, he shone like the moon and as an artist he had just the right amount of slightly round the bend," Hirst said. "I loved him."

Fairhurst is survived by his mother, Sally, and brother, Charles.

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