Nick Ashford, Motown Songwriting Great, Dies at 70

, the singer-songwriter, who along with his partner and wife of 38 years, Valerie Simpson, penned some of the Motown era’s greatest hits, died in a New York City hospital on Monday at the age of 70, the artist’s friend and former publicist Liz Rosenberg told reporters.

In their prime, Ashford & Simpson were responsible for such rhythm ‘n’ blues hits as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” made famous by Diana Ross, “You’re All I Need (To Get By),” sung by Marvin Gaye and Tami Terrell, and dozens of other songs written for the likes of Ray Charles, Chaka Khan, Smokey Robinson and others.

“They had magic, and that’s what creates those wonderful hits, that magic,” Verdine White of Earth, Wind and Fire said after learning of Ashford’s death.

In addition to the success the couple achieved writing songs for others, Ashford and his wife were an accomplished duo in their own right, with one of their best-known works being “Solid As A Rock,” written in 1984.

Following Ashford’s death, which came after a long battle with throat cancer, a flood of tributes from entertainers whose lives he had impacted came pouring in.

“Left rehearsal. Heard Nick Ashford passed. A legend. My heart goes out to Valerie. My Lord, ain’t no mountain high enough. Solid as a rock,” tweeted songwriter and singer Lenny Kravitz.

Rapper MC Hammer also took to twitter and posted:

“Nick Ashford (RIP) your songs and melodies touched millions of lives and will never fade. We #Salute your Life.”

In memory of Nick Ashford’s “solid”career and life, check out the video to one of his greatest hits: