*(Via AP/Yahoo News) – Nick Ashford, one-half of the legendary Motown songwriting duo Ashford & Simpson that penned elegant, soulful classics for the likes of Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye and funk hits for Chaka Khan and others, died Monday at age 70, his former publicist said.

Ashford, who along with wife Valerie Simpson wrote some of Motown’s biggest hits, died in a New York City hospital, said Liz Rosenberg, who also was Ashford’s longtime friend. He had been suffering from throat cancer and had undergone radiation treatment, she said.

Though they had some of their greatest success at Motown with classics like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Reach Out And Touch Somebody’s Hand” by Ross and “You’re All I Need To Get By” by Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Ashford & Simpson also created classics for others, like the anthem “I’m Every Woman” by Khan (and later remade by Whitney Houston).

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.

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