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R.I.P. Bruce Williamson, former Temptations lead singer who reportedly battled COVID-19

The A.V. Club logo The A.V. Club 9/7/2020 Patrick Gomez
Bruce Williamson at Palace Theatre in New York City in 2014. © Photo: Walter McBride/WireImage Bruce Williamson at Palace Theatre in New York City in 2014.

Bruce Williamson, the former lead singer of The Temptations, has died. “There’s no words in the world that can express how I feel right now,” his son Bruce posted on Facebook early Monday morning. “I love you Daddy thank you for being awesome thank you for being loving thank you for being Who You Are I pray to God and we will meet again. I love you Daddy R.I.H KING WILLIAMSON.” Williamson died Sunday night at his Las Vegas home after battling COVID-19, TMZ reported. He was 49.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Williamson began singing gospel music in church at a young age. Eventually he began singing R&B in local clubs before moving to Las Vegas to front the popular cover and funk band BlackBerry Jam. He developed a friendship with Temptations member Ron Tyson and joined the group (which formed its original lineup in 1960 but has had a rotating roster in the decades since) in 2006 after the departure of member G.C. Cameron. Williamson recorded two albums with The Temptations and appeared alongside his bandmates as the original Temptations in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. At the time of his death, Williamson was reportedly working on a gospel project with BlackBerry Jam.

The novel coronavirus has disproportionately affected Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) in the United States. In Williamson’s home state of Nevada, Black people account for 11.9% of deaths but comprise 8.9% of the population, according to This Is Reno. “In Nevada, COVID-19 has disproportionately affected people of color. Latinos in Nevada have contracted COVID-19 in the greatest numbers relative to their share of the population,” says the Kenny Guinn Center for Policy Priorities, an independent, bi-partisan institute. “African Americans were hospitalized for COVID-19 related illness at the highest rates in Clark County. African Americans and Asians have died from COVID-19 at higher rates relative to their respective shares of the population.”

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