The former recording artist, songwriter, and music publishing executive died suddenly of natural causes at his Marina del Rey home in California on Friday (Oct. 21).
“Motown Museum mourns the passing of Motown alumnus Robert Gordy,” the Motown Museum tweeted. The Twitter account also shared a quote from Berry Gordy III saying: “He was absolutely the best lil’ brother anyone could ever hope for. His ability to succeed at whatever he attempted or that I threw his way amazed me over the years. I will miss his love, his support and his loyalty.”
Robert was born July 15, 1931, debuting in the music industry 27 years later with the song “Everyone Was There,” which he co-wrote with Berry under the pseudonym Bob Kayli. During his time at Motown, not only did he record and publish music, he also acted in the 1972 film, “Lady Sings the Blues,” where he played a drug dealer.
Robert eventually took over Jobete Music Publishing under Motown for over 20 years. Per outlet, he transformed the Detroit-based record label from a holder of song copyrights into a thriving global publishing company.
His eldest son, Robert Jr., and wife, Theresa, both preceded him in death. He is now survived by his brother Berry, children Roxanna Wright, Rodney Gordy and Fuller Gordy, four grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Funeral plans have not been made available as of now. According to Detroit Free Press, flowers and monetary donations may be made in his memory to the Motown Museum.