There’s sad news for lovers of soul and R&B music today. Reports are that Nick Ashford of legendary duo Ashford & Simpson has passed away.
The man behind such hits as “Reach Out and Touch Somebody,” “Solid,” “You’re All I Need To Get By,” “I’m Every Woman,” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, Ashford penned many R&B classics with his wife Valerie Simpson over the years. Ashford’s publicist Liz Rosenberg told The Associated Press that he died in a New York City hospital on Monday. Ashford had been undergoing radiation for his longtime battle with throat cancer. He leaves behind his wife and his two daughters, Nicole and Asia.He was 70-years-old.
While the duo performed much of their own material, they also left an indelible mark on the careers of other acclaimed artists such as Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, Gladys Knight, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Ross, Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Ray Charles and Marvin Gaye. Ashford and Simpson met in 1964 at a Harlem church. At the time she was a 17-year-old from the Bronx and he was a 21-year-old from Michigan. The could married 10 years after their first meeting and lived between their Manhattan townhouse and Connecticut home in recent years. It was a marriage that brought Ashford much joy. He told PEOPLE in a 1978 interview:
“Being married is the best thing that ever happened to me. I don’t feel like I’m married. Valerie brought me around to the idea that every time you fight it isn’t the end. You can knock each other down but then you make love.”
Our condolences to his family at this time as they struggle to cope with their loss. We wish them peace, comfort and all the best.