Motown songwriter Deke Richards has passed away at the age of 68.

The hitmaker, real name Dennis Lussier, lost his battle with esophageal cancer at a hospice in Washington on Sunday (24Mar13).

Richards was part of The Corporation, a team of songwriters and producers which included Motown founder Berry Gordy, Alphonso Mizell and Freddie Perren, and who wrote for the likes of Diana Ross and The Jackson 5.

The star worked on the family band's hit tracks I Want You Back, ABC and The Love You Save, while he helped pen Love Child for Diana Ross & The Supremes, and I'm Still Waiting for the singer when she went solo.

He also worked with Bobby Darin and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas.