The legendary Jimmy Lee Ruffin, the Motown singer died on Monday, November 17th, in a Las Vegas hospital, at the age of 78. He was one of the biggest Motown stars, with hits like “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” and “Hold on to My Love.”
Jimmy Ruffin, who lived in England for a couple of years, was also the older brother of Temptations lead singer David Ruffin, who died in 1991 at age 50.
Philicia Ruffin and Jimmy Lee Ruffin Jr., the late singer’s children, confirmed on Wednesday that Ruffin had died, but they haven’t issued any details about the cause of death.
The deceased singer’s family issued a statement, in which they said: “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 all have of him. We appreciate all of the love and prayers from our family, friends, his colleagues and his adoring fans.”
Legendary singer Rod Stewart learned of Ruffin’s death in Las Vegas, where he was doing a show. He issued a statement through his spokesperson: “RIP, Jimmy. Heaven has never sounded so sweet.”
Jimmy Lee Ruffin was born on May 7, 1936, in Collinsville, Mississippi. He was signed to Berry Gordy’s Motown Records, and had a string of hits in the 1960s. His biggest hit is “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted,” which became a Top 10 pop hit. He had continued with his success flow, with songs such as “I’ve Passed This Way Before” and “Gonna Give Her All the Love I’ve Got.”
After a few years out of the limelight, Ruffin made a huge comeback in 1980 with his second Top 10 song “Hold on to My Love.” The song was actually produced by Robin Gibb, the Bee Gees member who died in 2012. Ruffin also worked with his brother David in the 1970s, on the album, “I Am My Brother’s Keeper.”