By Becca Longmire On March 26, 2013

Motown Songwriter And Producer Deke Richards Dies Aged 68

Deke was the leader of the Motown songwriting team 'The Corporation'

Deke Richards, who led the infamous songwriting and producing team at Motown Records that wrote for the likes of the Jackson 5, has died from cancer aged 68.

Universal Music confirmed the tragic news yesterday, saying that Deke had died on Sunday surrounded by his immediate family at the Whatcom Hospice House in Bellingham, Washington.

He was the leader of the Motown songwriting, arranging and producing team known as The Corporation, which was comprised of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, Alphonzo Mizell and Freddie Perren.

The Corporation wrote and produced the Jackson 5's first three songs to reach No. 1: "I Want You Back," "ABC," and "The Love You Save," as well as many others, Universal said.

Richards also wrote for Diana Ross, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, and other artists.

The music star had been battling esophageal cancer, according to a statement from Universal Music, the Mail Online reports.

Deke co-wrote a number of the Jacksons hits (Photo: WENN)

Richards worked closely with the likes of Michael Jackson during his time in the Jackson 5 and spoke to the Detroit News after the legend's death in 2009, saying that he was a 'true genius.'

He told the paper: "Whatever it took to be able to take and mold and help to put together that piece of clay, I'll tell you something, it was like your hands were guided by God." reported that a private family celebration of his life is being planned.

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