Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson met in church in 1963 and spent the next 48 years making beautiful music together. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “You’re All I Need To Get By,” “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” and “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” are but a few of the Motown hits written by the awesome duo known as Ashford & Simpson.

The husband and wife team not only wrote chartbusters for other artists,  they were recording artists and performers themselves–their biggest hit, a testament to their love and passion for one another titled, “Solid” topped the R&B charts in 1985. “Solid” was re-released in 2009 as a tribute to President Barack Obama with the title, “Solid as Barack.”

Sadly, the duo Ashford & Simpson is no more. Nick Ashford died Aug. 22 after battling throat cancer. He is survived by his wife, Valerie, and their two children.

Ashford & Simpson have stood for almost half a century as one gorgeous portrait of black love. Their music is the soundtrack for so many of our lives and our loves. This feels like losing a family member.