Nickolas Ashford, who along with his wife Valerie Simpson made up the Motown songwriting team Ashford & Simpson, succumbed to throat cancer Monday at age 70.

The duo penned such classic hits as ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,’ ‘Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing’ and ‘I’m Every Woman,’ and had their music recorded by Diana Ross, Ray Charles, Whitney Houston, Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye, among others. Ashford & Simpson also had a long singing career, which was best known for their duet ‘Solid.’

Ashford met his future wife while attending Harlem’s White Rock Baptist Church in 1964. They almost immediately began writing music together, and were married in 1974.

Ashford is also survived by his two daughters.

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