Anna Gordy Gaye, composer, songwriter and entrepreneur, died Friday (Jan. 31). She was sister to Motown Records founder Berry Gordy and the ex-wife of Motown legend Marvin Gaye.
According to TMZ.com, she died of natural causes.
Gaye was born Anna Rudy Gordy in Milledgeville, Ga., the third eldest of Berry Gordy, Sr. and Bertha Ida Gordy. Like many of her family members, she was a successful business person. She co-founded a photo concession at Detroit’s Flame Show Bar and a label, Anna Records, with her sister Gwen and singer Billy Davis.
In her marriage to Marvin Gaye, which began in 1964 and ended in divorce in 1977, the couple had one child, Marvin Gaye III.
Anna Gaye is known to have greatly influenced her ex-husband’s career, including co-writing songs with him for the Motown group The Originals (including the hit “Baby, I’m For Real”); co-composing two songs on his classic What’s Going On; and inspiring such records as “Pride and Joy” and “Anna’s Song” (the former was written during their courtship, the latter during a separation).
His album, Here, My Dear, was written during an especially troubled time in their relationship. By the ’80s, however, the two reconciled their friendship and she began making public appearances with him again, including when he won his only two Grammys at the 1983 awards show. After he passed in 1984, she accepted his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on his behalf.
Her last public appearance was at a red carpet event with her brother, Berry, in 2008.
Gaye died of natural causes, in her home, around 3 a.m. Family members found her body.