The Motown hitmaker and legendary songwriter Nick Ashford died on Monday at age 70, a friend and former publicist said.
Ashford, 70, was born in Fairfield County, South Carolina, and was living in Manhattan when he died. Liz Rosenberg, a friend who is a longtime music publicist announced his death.
Ashford met his wife Valerie Simpson in 1964 at a New York City church and quickly started writing songs together. Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell originally recorded the song, but in 1970 Diana Ross recorded it again and made that song her first solo Number One single on the Hot 100.
In recent times, Ashford and Simpson had recorded and toured sporadically. Ashford and Simpson began recording as a duo for Warner Bros after marrying each other in 1974. The track is based on a sample of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's 1967 Motown classic hit "Ain't No Mountain High Enough". Nick Ashford, one-half of the legendary Motown songwriting duo Ashford & Simpson who penned elegant, soulful classics for the likes of Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye and funk hits for Chaka Khan and others, died Monday, his former publicist said. Ashford, who along with wife, Valerie Simpson, wrote some of Motown's biggest hits, died in a New York City hospital, said Liz Rosenberg, who was Ashford's longtime friend. Ashford & Simpson also had success writing for themselves: Perhaps the best-known song they sang was the 1980s hit "Solid as a Rock."
That song became a huge hit, and soon, they came to the attention of Motown Records and began penning hits for the label's artists. Ashford is survived by his wife and two daughters.
The 70-year-old Motown giant died in a New York City hospital, his publicist Liz Rosenberg said today.
Ashford was one-half of the songwriting duo Ashford & Simpson who helped sell millions of records for some of the world's biggest artists.
His wife Valerie Simpson was his co-writer.
The pair, married for 38 years, crafted hits for the likes of Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye and funk hits for Chaka Khan.
Among their songs were X-Factor favourite 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' and Ross's 'Reach Out And Touch Somebody's Hand'
Ashford & Simpson also scored chart hits of their own, including the 1980s anthem 'Solid As A Rock'.
Earth, Wind and Fire's Verdine White said: 'His music is unmatched in terms of great songwriting.
'They had magic and that's what creates those wonderful hits, that magic.
Ashford and Simpson's relationship stretched more than four decades. The pair met in 1964 in a New York City church.
Ashford, from South Carolina, had come to the city to pursue a dance career.
The bluesy, gospel-tinged song became a huge hit for Charles, and they soon came to the attention of Motown Records and began penning hits for their artists.
Ashford & Simpson started out writing soulful, romantic works for the duo of Gaye and Terrell.
Ashford & Simpson also composed some of the music for 'The Wiz,' the movie musical that starred Ross and Michael Jackson.
The duo, married for 38 years, helped sell millions of records for several artists.
In 2002, Ashford & Simpson were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Ashford is survived by his wife and two daughters.