LOS ANGELES, Feb. 23 -- Singer Melvin Franklin, a founding member of the Temptations whose booming bass helped define the R&B group's signature sound, died Thursday of complications of diabetes. He was 52.
Franklin, whose real name was David English, was admitted to Cedars- Sinai Medical Center on Feb. 17 after suffering a series of brain seizures, according to hospital spokesman Ron Wise. Franklin had been ill for some time and stopped performing with the Temptations last July, said Mitch Schneider, the group's publicist. As a teenager in the late 1950s, Franklin began performing with a Detroit vocal group known as the Primes. That group was signed by Motown Records founder Berry Gordy in 1960 and soon evolved into the Temptations. The Temptations released a string of pop hits throughout the 1960s and '70s, including 'My Girl,' 'Just My Imagination,' 'Papa Was a Rolling Stone,' 'Ain't Too Proud to Beg' and 'I Can't Get Next to You.' The quintet was known for its soaring vocals and smooth synchronized dance steps. Born in Montgomery, Ala. on Oct. 12, 1942, Franklin grew up singing gospel music in church choirs, a robust vocal style he later integrated into the Temptations' blend of pop and R&B. Franklin is survived by his wife Kimberly and five children.