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BELLINGHAM — Motown songwriter-producer Deke Richards has died at 68.

Richards, whose real name was Dennis Lussier, died Sunday at the Whatcom Hospice House, Peace Health St. Joseph Medical Center spokeswoman Amy Cloud said. He’d been battling esophageal cancer.

As leader of the Motown songwriting, arranging and producing team The Corporation, Richards was involved in writing and producing many Jackson 5 hits, said a release from Universal Music. They included the Jackson 5’s first three No. 1 hits — “I Want You Back,” “ABC” and “The Love You Save.” He also co-wrote “Love Child” for Diana Ross & The Supremes, and Ross’ solo “I’m Still Waiting.”

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