Former Temptations singer Dennis Edwards dead at 74

The musician had been battling "a long illness," his manager said.

— -- Former Temptations member Dennis Edwards, who contributed lead vocals to such hits as "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone," "I Can't Get Next to You" and "Ball of Confusion," died Thursday in a Chicago hospital after a long illness, the singer's manager confirmed to ABC News.

He would have turned 75 on Saturday.

Edwards joined the Temptations in 1968 after original member David Ruffin was fired. His gritty, gospel-influenced vocals were featured prominently on most of the band's ensuing hits.

He was fired from the group in 1977, and that same year he married Ruth Pointer of the Pointer Sisters. Although the marriage was brief, the couple had a daughter, Issa, in 1978.

Edwards rejoined the Temptations in 1980 and stayed with the group until 1984. As a solo artist, he scored a No. 2 hit on the R&B charts with "Don't Look Any Further" in 1984. Dennis returned to the band for one more stint that lasted from 1987 to 1989. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Temptations in '89.

Since the 1990s, Edwards had toured with his own version of the Temptations called the Temptations Review Featuring Dennis Edwards. The group's lineup also featured Paul Williams Jr., son of late founding Temptations singer Paul Williams.