Jimmy Ruffin dead: Motown legend, who wrote 'What Becomes of the Brokenhearted', dies aged 78

His family confirmed his death, calling him a "rare type of man".

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The Independent Online

Motown singer Jimmy Ruffin, who found fame with hits including What Becomes of the Brokenhearted, has died aged 78.

The late singer’s children, Philicia Ruffin and Jimmy Lee Ruffin Jr., confirmed that their father's passed away in a hospital in Las Vegas, but did not give any further details.

Philicia led tributes to her father on behalf of her family, and called him “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 appreciate all of the love and prayers from our family, friends, his colleagues and his adoring fans. We will treasure the many fond and wonderful memories we all have of him," she added.

Famous admirers of Ruffin took to Twitter on Wednesday evening to show their respects.

Singer Boy George called Ruffin a "great soul".

Ruffin was born on 7 May, 1936, in Collinsville, Mississippi.

He launched his career with Berry Gordy’s Motown Records label, which also signed The Supremes, Marvin Gaye and his brother David Ruffin's band The Temptations.  During the 1960s, Ruffin had a string of hits, including What Becomes of the Brokenhearted, which landed in the US Billboard 100 chart Top 10.

He had continued success with songs such as I've Passed This Way Before and Gonna Give Her All the Love I've Got.

With his brother David, who died of a drug overdose in 1991 aged 50, he worked on the 1970s album I Am My Brother's Keeper.

The Motown singer found further mainstream success in 1980 when he staged a comeback with his second Top 10 hit, Hold on to My Love, which was produced by Bee Gees member Robin Gibb, who died in 2012.


Ruffin also lived in England for several years, and in 1984 collaborated with the Style Council for Soul Deep, a benefit song to raise money for striking coal miners, according to Rolling Stone magazine. 

In memory of his brother, Ruffin went on to become an outspoken anti-drug advocate.