Motown singer and songwriter Jimmy Ruffin, whose hits included “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” and “Hold On (To My Love),” died Monday in a Las Vegas hospital. He was 78.
Signed to Motown before he was drafted into the Army, Ruffin returned from service to sing a number of successful singles for the record label, including his biggest hit, “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted,” which was a top ten hit after its 1966 release.
Ruffin’s children, Philicia Ruffin and Jimmy Lee Ruffin Jr., confirmed his death Wednesday.
“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,” a statement from Philicia Ruffin and the Ruffin family said. “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.”
The Collinsville, Miss., native hailed from a musical family, as his brother David was the lead singer for The Temptations beginning in 1964. A number of Jimmy’s songs later became successful as covered by other artists including Gladys Knight & the Pips, Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye.
Funeral arrangements are pending, according to the family.