US songwriter Nickolas Ashford dies at age 70

NEW YORK,  (Reuters) – U.S. songwriter Nickolas  Ashford, who penned such rhythm and blues hits as “Ain’t No  Mountain High Enough” and “I’m Every Woman” with his wife  Valerie Simpson, died on Monday at age 70.

Ashford, who had been treated for cancer, died at a New  York hospital with his family at his side, publicist Liz  Rosenberg told Reuters.

Nickolas Ashford
Nickolas Ashford

A native of South Carolina, Ashford met Simpson in the  early 1960s at White Rock Baptist Church in Harlem, after he  moved to New York to pursue a career in entertainment and found  himself homeless.

Simpson played the piano and sang in a church choir, which  Ashford soon joined. The two began writing songs together and  had their breakthrough hit in 1966 when Ray Charles released  their composition “Let’s Go Get Stoned.”

It was the beginning of a partnership that saw the duo  marry in 1974 and write a string of hits.

They were signed to Motown Records, where they penned the  1967 classic Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell duet “Ain’t No  Mountain High Enough.”

Gaye and Terrell also had hits with the couple’s songs  “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” and “You’re All I Need to  Get By.”

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