Nick Ashford of Ashford & Simpson died yesterday, August 23, at age 69. Ashford was known as a half of the Motown duo with wife Valerie Simpson. They were not only performers, but also prolific songwriters and producers. Together, Ashford & Simpson wrote songs for legendary artists such as Diana Ross, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, Tendy Pendergrass, and Chaka Khan.

Ashford and Simpson continued to stay involved with music in recent years, often performing at shows, making guest appearances, and hosting events. In 1996 they opened a venue called Sugar Bar in New York City, renowned for its open mic night and celebrity visits. Ashford died of throat cancer in a New York hospital. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.