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Marvin Gaye, Temptations Producer Norman Whitfield Dies

September 18, 2008 9:05 AM ET

Motown producer and songwriter Norman Whitfield, who helped craft some of the Detroit label's biggest hits, died Tuesday at Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai Hospital. He was 65. While an exact cause of death wasn't revealed, Whitfield reportedly suffered ailments from diabetes. Whitfield started out at Motown as a tambourine player before writing some early hits for Marvin Gaye with lyricist Barrett Strong. One of those songs, "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," ended up topping multiple charts and became the label's biggest hit of the '60s. Whitfield also worked with the Temptations, co-writing their hits "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" as well as "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone," which won Motown its first Grammy. Whitfield left Motown in 1973, forming his own Whitfield Records. The label released the Rose Royce hit "Car Wash," and later won Whitfield another Grammy in 1977 for the Car Wash soundtrack.

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