By Grady Smith
Updated August 23, 2011 at 04:25 AM EDT

Legendary songwriter Nick Ashford died on Monday in a New York hospital at age 70 of complications related to throat cancer.

Ashford enjoyed considerable success during the 1960s and ’70s with his wife Valerie Simpson, who he married in 1974. Together they were the unstoppable production duo known as Ashford & Simpson, who were behind some of the Motown era’s biggest hits. They wrote and produced such classics as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “You’re All I Need to Get By,” “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand),” “I’m Every Woman,” “Let’s Go Get Stoned,” and “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing.”

Ashford & Simpson, who were inducted into the Songwriting Hall of Fame in 2002, also performed their own music, producing sixteen albums from 1973 to 1996. Their most successful single, “Solid,” reached number one on Billboard‘s U.S. R&B chart in 1984.

Today is an especially sad day for the music world. Just hours before Ashford’s death, another famed songwriter, Jerry Leiber, passed away at age 78.


Jerry Leiber, co-writer of ‘Stand By Me’ and ‘Hound Dog,’ dies at 78