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Jimmy Ruffin


Motown singer Jimmy Ruffin died Monday in a Las Vegas hospital. He was 78 years old.

His children, Philicia Ruffin and Jimmy Lee Ruffin, Jr., confirmed his death in a statement. "Jimmy Ruffin was a rare type of man who left his mark on the music industry," they told CNN. "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 all have of him."

Born in Mississippi, Jimmy moved to Detroit in the 1960s and was quickly signed to Motown's Miracle label, where he came to sing the top 10 hit, "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" in 1966. The older brother to The Temptations' lead singer, David Ruffin, Jimmy went on to perform other hits such as "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."

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Although David received critical acclaim as the lead of the Temptations, Jimmy also hit it big with his several Hot 100 songs. Motown Records founder Berry Gordy said in a statement to Rolling Stone, "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, who got so much acclaim. 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, not just here in the states, but overseas, as well. Jimmy Ruffin will always be a part of the Motown legacy, and I extend my sincere condolences to his family, friends and fans."

Jimmy eventually moved to the U.K. in the 1980s, where he collaborated with the Style Council to create "Soul Deep," a song written to raise money for U.K. coal miners. He also worked with British pop group Heaven 17 while going on to host a radio show.

After his brother died from a drug overdose, Jimmy became a staunch anti-drug advocate.