Nick Ashford, the American songwriter who wrote Motown hits 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' and 'Reach Out and Touch Somebody's Hand', has died after a long battle with throat cancer - he was 70 years old, reports the Associated Press.
The songwriter, who also performed with his wife Valerie Simpson in Ashford & Simpson, wrote songs that were later made famous by Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Chaka Khan and Whitney Houston. His relationship with Valerie stretched back to 1964, when they met in a Harlem church and began writing songs together. The couple had their first hit in 1966, penning the Ray Charles record 'Let's Go Get Stoned', before being signed to Motown to write for the likes of Tammi Terrell, Diana Ross, and Gaye. The songwriter has already received a flurry of tributes, most notably from Earth, Wind And Fire's Verdine White, who said, "His music is unmatched in terms of great songwriting.They had magic and that's what creates those wonderful hits, that magic". Grammy Award winning singer Alicia Keys spoke of Ashford's influence on her career, telling Twitter followers, "I'm so sad that he's gone. ... So many of the greatest are going to a greater place ... what a legacy of infectious music ... man!".
Besides his wife Simpson, Nick Ashford is survived by the couple's two daughters Nicole and Asia.