Adam Levine says the death of his manager was 'one of the saddest moments' of his life

Adam Levine is still mourning the devastating death of his manager and childhood friend, Jordan Feldstein.

The 39-year-old Maroon 5 frontman is named Variety's 2018 Hitmaker of the Year, and in the accompanying interview, he talks about taking control of his career after Feldstein died suddenly last December. Feldstein, who was the older brother of actor Jonah Hill, died of natural causes from a blockage of an artery in his lungs and a blood clot in his leg. The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner also listed obesity and pneumonia as contributing factors to his death.

"It was a tragedy foisted upon us and far and away one of the saddest moments of our lives, and personally of mine," Levine says. "This is a kid I’ve known since we were in diapers. He was one of the most important people in my life from a very early age."

Levine says he thinks about Feldstein every day. 

"It will always be something that’s missing in my life," he shares. "I break down; I cry. We built this together, and it will never be complete without him. But at the same time, we know he wants us to keep trucking."

The father of two was forced to make tough decisions about the future of Maroon 5 following Feldstein's death, and chose to bring aboard Feldstein's business partner, Irving Azoff, and manager Adam Harrison to help manage the band. He also self-manages to a point, and says he doesn't engage the record company when it comes to decisions about Maroon 5's music.

"I’m almost 40 and have been doing this a long time," he notes. "I don’t need a babysitter."

"It was brutal," he also admits about restructuring his management team after Feldstein's death. "When that all went down, I remember having to dig deep and say to myself, 'Am I just going to let this fall apart, or am I going to try and hold this thing together?' In chaotic situations that are so horrific and so gut-wrenching, you have to kind of show up, you know?"

Levine's decisions have already proven to be sound, and he reveals he had to beg for their mega-hit "Girls Like You" featuring Cardi B to be on their latest record as a last-minute addition. He also talked about the importance of the video, which featured Levine celebrating female empowerment with celebrities including Jennifer Lopez, Ellen DeGeneres and Gal Gadot. The musician says having two daughters with wife Behati Prinsloo -- 2-year-old Dusty and 9-month-old Gio -- connected him to the plight of women. 

"I have two young daughters, and to think about them being mistreated at all -- ever -- made my blood boil," he explains. "So we went for it because I felt that as long as I stayed close to my heart with this concept, I could never go wrong. … In the video, I was doing it for my kids and my wife. If anyone doesn’t understand the intentions, f**k ’em."

As for whether Maroon 5 is set to play their biggest gig ever -- next year's Super Bowl Halftime show -- despite the controversy surrounding NFL players who kneel on the field during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality, Levine remains cryptic. A source told ET in October that Rihanna turned down the big opportunity to show solidarity for Colin Kaepernick and other players.

"I’m still formulating a lot of things," Levine only notes.

The Voice coach is turning 40 in March, and says he actually has already achieved everything he's ever wanted. 

"Bring it!" he says about the milestone age. "I mean, I don’t know, what the f**k else do I want? I’ve got a beautiful family, a beautiful wife, two beautiful babies, and I’ve got money in the bank, and I’m really happy with my career and my output and the person that I’ve become and the person that I hopefully will stay. S**t, it’s too daunting to imagine anything else. I feel like I’ve already achieved anything beyond my wildest dreams."

30 PHOTOS
Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo together through the years
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Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo together through the years
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 03: Singer Adam Levine and model Behati Prinsloo attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets at Staples Center on December 3, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 15: Model Behati Prinsloo and singer Adam Levine attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers at Staples Center on November 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Recording artist Adam Levine and wife model Behati Prinsloo attend the ceremony honoring Adam Levine with star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 10, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Recording artist Adam Levine (L), wife model Behati Prinsloo and their daughter attend his being honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 10, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 25: Adam Levine (L) and Behati Prinsloo attend a basketball game between the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on November 25, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images,)
INDIO, CA - APRIL 10: Musician Adam Levine (L) and model Behati Prinsloo attend day 1 of the 2015 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival (Weekend 1) at the Empire Polo Club on April 10, 2015 in Indio, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Coachella)
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 02: (L-R) Model Chrissy Teigen, singer Katharine McPhee, model Behati Prinsloo, singer John Legend and singer Adam Levine attend 'Sinatra 100: An All-Star GRAMMY Concert' celebrating the late Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas on December 2, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The show will air on CBS on December 6. (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 02: Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo pose backstage during 'Sinatra 100: An All-Star GRAMMY Concert' celebrating the late Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas on December 2, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The show will air on CBS on December 6. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Model Behati Prinsloo and musician Adam Levine arrive at the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 22, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Behati Prinsloo and Adam Levine arrives at the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 11: Singer Adam Levine and model Behati Prinsloo attend the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 23: Singer/Songwriter Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo attend the NBA game between the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on November 23, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 23: Adam Levine (R) and Behati Prinsloo attend a basketball game between the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on November 23, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Adam Levine (L) and Behati Prinsloo attend a basketball game between the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on October 28, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/GC Images)
NEW YORK NY - SEPTEMBER 05: Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo sighting on September 05, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 03: Behati Prinsloo (L) and Adam Levine attend the launch party for Herring & Herring: Framed magazine at Lovers Of Today on September 3, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 25: Adam Levine (R) and Model Behati Prinsloo attend the 'Begin Again' premiere at SVA Theater on June 25, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/FilmMagic)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 02: Musician Adam Levine of Maroon 5 and Model Behati Prinsloo arrive to the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party on March 2, 2014 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by C Flanigan/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA- AUGUST 25: Singer Adam Levine (R) and model Behati Prinsloo arrive at the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on August 25, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.(Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo attend the 2012 GQ Gentlemen's Ball presented by LG, Movado, and Nautica on October 24, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for GQ,)
INGLEWOOD, CA - AUGUST 24: Recording artist Adam Levine (R) and model Behati Prinsloo attend the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/MTV1415/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: Musician Adam Levine (L) and model Behati Prinsloo attend the CHANEL Dinner in honor of the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival closing night film 'Begin Again' at Tribeca Grill on April 26, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for CHANEL)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 02: (EXCLUSIVE ACCESS, SPECIAL RATES APPLY) Behati Prinsloo and Adam Levine attend the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter on March 2, 2014 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/VF14/WireImage)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 02: (EXCLUSIVE ACCESS, SPECIAL RATES APPLY) (L-R) Model Behati Prinsloo, musician Adam Levine, actresses Lauren Miller, and Leslie Mann attend the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Viewing Dinner Hosted By Graydon Carter on March 2, 2014 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Larry Busacca/VF14/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 27: (L-R) Model Behati Prinsloo and recording artist Adam Levine of Maroon 5 attend 'The Night That Changed America: A GRAMMY Salute To The Beatles' at the Los Angeles Convention Center on January 27, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 27: (L-R) Recording artist John Legend, model Christine Teigen, model Behati Prinsloo and recording artist Adam Levine of Maroon 5 attend 'The Night That Changed America: A GRAMMY Salute To The Beatles' at the Los Angeles Convention Center on January 27, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Behati Prinsloo and Adam Levine are seen in the West Village on November 15, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Alo Ceballos/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Behati Prinsloo and Adam Levine are seen in the West Village on November 15, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Alo Ceballos/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo attend the 2012 GQ Gentlemen's Ball presented by LG, Movado, and Nautica on October 24, 2012 in New York City.(Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for GQ,)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: Behati Prinsloo, Adam Levine, Ted Danson and Kate Danson attend the 2012 GQ Gentlemen's Ball presented by LG, Movado, and Nautica on October 24, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for GQ,)
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