The Associate Press is reporting that Motown legend Jimmy Ruffin has died at the age of 78 at a Las Vegas hospital. Details regarding his cause of death have not been released yet. Ruffin’s children released a statement saying, “Jimmy Ruffin was a rare type of man who left his mark on the music industry. My family in its entirety is extremely upset over his death. He will truly be missed. We will treasure the many fond and wonderful memories we have of him.”
Motown founder Berry Gordy also released a statement stating, “Jimmy Ruffin was a phenomenal singer. He was truly underrated because we were also fortunate to have his brother, David, as the lead singer of the Temptations…Jimmy, as a solo artist, had ‘What Becomes of the Brokenhearted,’ one of the greatest songs put out by Motown and also one of my personal favorites. He was a wonderful human being, quiet and unassuming, who touched many lives with his music.”
As mentioned in Gordy’s statement, Jimmy was the older brother of late Temptations lead singer David Ruffin. He signed with Motown in 1966, and went on to churn out several hits over the next decade, including “I’ve Passed This Way Before,” “Gonna Give Her All the Love I’ve Got,” “Don’t You Miss Me A Little Bit Baby” and “I’ll Say Forever My Love.” During a comeback in 1980, his hit “Hold On To My Love went to Number 10 on the Hot 100 list. Ruffin had written music as recently as 2012. The song was produced by late Bee Gees member Robin Gibb.
He had also lived in England for several years where he recorded with British musicians and hosted a radio show. After his brother David’s death in 1991 from a drug overdose, Jimmy became an outspoken anti-drug advocate.
Funeral arrangements are still pending.