One of Motown’s brightest stars, Jimmy Ruffin, has died. He was 78.
Ruffin died in a Las Vegas hospital on Monday, Nov. 17. According to the Mirror, he had previously fallen seriously ill and had been in hospital since last month.
The “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” singer’s family released a statement about his death, saying, “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.”
And Ruffin did indeed leave his mark on the music industry, but here are some things you may not have known about him.
1. He had a musical family
Ruffin was born in born in Collinsville, Mississippi, and was part of a very talented musical family. His younger brother, David Ruffin, was the lead singer of the Temptations.
2. He started off singing gospel
As a child, Ruffin and his brother started off singing gospel with the group, the Dixie Nightingales, before they moved north to Detroit in 1960 and discovered Motown.
3. He served his country
Ruffin was drafted in to the army as part of national service. When he left the army in 1964, he returned to Motown and was offered the chance to join the Temptations and replace Elbridge Bryant. However, according to the Mirror, when the bosses heard his brother sing, they decided to hire him instead and, thus, Jimmy went solo.
4. He was an anti-drug advocate
After the loss of his beloved brother, David, who died in 1991 of a suspected drug overdose, Ruffin was prompted to become a vocal anti-drug advocate, a role which he continued throughout his life.
5. His biggest success was in the U.K.
Despite the fact that Ruffin was an American, his greatest success came from the U.K. According to the Mirror, he was once voted the world’s top singer in a British poll and, in 1970, “Farewell Is a Lonely Sound,” “I’ll Say Forever My Love” and “It’s Wonderful (To Be Loved By You)” each made the top 10.
6. He had a love affair with the U.K., too
The U.K. loved Ruffin and he returned its love. In the 1980s, he decided to move to Britain and work with Paul Weller of the Style Council. He continued to live in the country for many years.
7. He collaborated with his famous brother
Before David’s untimely death, the brothers collaborated on an album together in the ’70s called, I Am My Brother’s Keeper.
Jimmy Ruffin will be missed by many and our thoughts are with his children, Jimmy Lee Ruffin, Jr. and Philicia Ruffin, as well as all those who loved him.