Nick Ashford, a former Westport resident who with his wife Valerie Simpson formed the Motown singing duo Ashford & Simpson, died Monday at age 70.

The couple lived in Westport for 33 years in a 14-room house at the corner of Bayberry Lane and Cross Highway and were married there in 1974 shortly after buying the 18th-century home. They sold the 7.5-acre property with a pool, tennis courts and horse barn in 2007 for $5 million. The new owners razed the buildings and constructed a new house on the property.

The couple, known for hits such as "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "Solid As a Rock," threw many annual 4th of July parties at the Westport property that attracted celebrities and singing acts such as KC & The Sunshine Band.

While the couple, who also owned a Manhattan townhouse, was not actively involved in Westport life, Nickolas Ashford was ofteen seen jogging the town's roads and patronizing area businesses.