Dennis Edwards, a former Temptations member who sang lead on many of the group’s biggest hits including “Cloud Nine,” “Ball of Confusion” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” has died, a day before his 74th birthday.
Edwards’ family confirmed the news Friday to a CBS News affiliate in Chicago, saying he was in the city at the time of his death, though the family did not disclose a cause, Rolling Stone magazine reported.
Edwards joined the Temptations after the group’s “classic five” period, replacing David Ruffin as lead singer in 1968.
Two of the group’s songs on which he was the lead singer, “Cloud Nine” (1968) and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” (1972), won Grammys. Edwards sang lead on many other Temptations hits including “I Can’t Get Next to You,” “Ball of Confusion” and “Psychedelic Shack.”
News of Edwards’ death quickly reverberated throughout the entertainment industry.
“Rest in peace,” popular radio host Tom Joyner tweeted.
“So said to hear about the death of former Temptations lead singer Dennis Edwards,” said Roland Martin, who tweeted a photo of himself with the late singer. “I last saw Dennis at Aretha Franklin’s birthday party in April 2016. We last talked early year when I was considering having him sing at my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary,”
Judge Greg Mathis tweeted, “We lost another legend today. Dennis Edwards …. Will surely be missed. Sending condolences and prayers to Dennis’ family and friends.”
According to the biography posted on Edwards’ management website, he was born Feb. 3, 1943 in Birmingham, Alabama, and he was just 2 years old when he began singing in his father’s church.
His post-Temptations career experienced a rebirth in the 1980s once he resumed his solo career, particularly with the hit 1984 single “Don’t Look Any Further.”
Edwards has seven Grammy awards and scored 14 gold records, and has sold over 100,000,000 recordings worldwide.