Nick Ashford, one half of the legendary Motown songwriting duo Ashford & Simpson that penned classics for the likes of Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye and funk hits for Chaka Khan and others, died Monday at age 70, his former publicist said.
Liz Rosenberg, who also was Ashford’s longtime friend, told The Associated Press that Ashford — who along with wife Valerie Simpson wrote some of Motown’s biggest hits — died in a New York City hospital. He had been suffering from throat cancer and had undergone radiation treatment.
Though they had some of their greatest success at Motown with classics like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Reach Out And Touch Somebody’s Hand” by Ross and “You’re All I Need To Get By” by Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Ashford & Simpson also created classics for others, like the anthem “I’m Every Woman” by Khan (and later remade by Whitney Houston).
They also had success writing for themselves: Perhaps the biggest known hit sung by them was the 1980s hit “Solid As A Rock.”
Ashford is survived by his wife and two daughters.