In a statement to the press, Philicia Ruffin and Jimmy Lee Ruffin Jr., the late singer’s children, simply stated:
Jimmy Ruffin was a rare type of man who left his mark on the music industry. My family in its entirety is extremely upset over his death. He will truly be missed. We will treasure the many fond and wonderful memories we all have of him.
Ruffin first became famous for his single “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted,” which was released in the late spring of 1966 and peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. He went on to have another Top 10 hit in 1980 with “Hold Onto My Love.” Ruffin was also the older brother of Temptations’ singer David Ruffin. Both were signed to Motown Records and eventually collaborated on an album titled My Brother’s Keeper in 1970.
The singer’s cause of death is still unknown.