‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ songwriter Nickolas Ashford dies aged 69

Alicia Keys pays tribute to the Motown songwriter

Nickolas Ashford, who co-wrote hit singles for the likes of Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin and Diana Ross, has died at the age of 69.

The songwriter passed away yesterday (August 22) at a New York hospital after a lengthy battle with throat cancer, reports BBC News.

Ashford, who worked as a co-writer alongside wife Valerie Simpson, began his career in 1966 when he and Simpson‘s song ‘Let’s Get Stoned’ was made a hit by Ray Charles. Then they went on to compose hits across four decades, including Chaka Khan‘s ‘I’m Every Woman’, Diana Ross‘ first solo single ‘Reach Out And Touch (Somebody’s Hand)’ and Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell‘s ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’.

Ashford and Simpson also had their own musical careers, with a string of albums across the ’70s and ’80s. They most famously produced the 1984 hit single ‘Solid’. The pair were inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 2002.

Alicia Keys paid tribute to Ashford on Twitter, writing: “I’m so sad that he’s gone. What a legacy of infectious music.”