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Songwriter Nick Ashford dies at age 70

August 23, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Nick Ashford, one-half of the legendary Motown duo, Ashford & Simpson, died Monday after a battle with throat cancer. He was 70 years old.

As songwriters, Ashford and his wife Valerie Simpson, created some major Motown hits, including "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)" - both were hits for Diana Ross.

For Chaka Khan, they wrote the anthem, "I'm Every Woman."

They had tremendous success with "Solid as a Rock," which they wrote for themselves in the 1980s. The two never stopped performing.

Ashford and Simpson's relationship stretched more than four decades. They met in 1964 in a New York City church. Ashford, a South Carolina native, had come to the city to pursue a dance career. Simpson was a music student, and after connecting with her, they decided to start to write songs together.

In 2002, Ashford & Simpson were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Ashford is survived by his wife of 38 years and their two daughters.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.