CHICAGO – Dennis Edwards, former lead singer of the legendary Motown group The Temptations, died in Chicago at age 74. His family confirmed the news to CBS 2.
Edwards’ wife Brenda told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the singer suffered from complications from meningitis. He would have celebrated his 75th birthday Saturday.
“My uncle Dennis Edwards passed away this morning,” Edwards’ nephew Jason Quebec posted on Facebook Friday. “Please keep my family in prayer.”
Reverend Jesse Jackson also said that he visited Edwards in the hospital before he died.
Edwards replaced the late David Ruffin as the group’s lead singer in 1968. He, along with the rest of “The Temps,” was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.
During his time in the group, The Temptations won their first Grammys for the psychedelic soul classics “Cloud Nine” (1968) “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” originally recorded by The Undisputed Truth in 1971 and released by Edwards and co. a year later. They received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.
Charles Ley portrayed the singer in the 1998 television miniseries based on the group.
Edwards left and rejoined the group multiple times during his musical career. He began his solo career in 1984 with the album “Don’t Look Any Further.” The title track, which features singer Siedah Garrett, reached number two on the U.S. R&B chart and has been sampled by a number of artists including Tupac Shakur and Junior M.A.F.I.A., which featured The Notorious B.I.G.