Bruce Williamson, the former lead singer of the Temptations, passed away Sunday night at his home in Las Vegas, TMZ reports. He was 49 years old. The cause of death is listed as COVID-19.
"There's no words in the world that can express how I feel right now 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's son wrote in a tribute.
While he was not an original member of the Temptations, Williamson spent considerable time with the group. He joined in 2006 and remained with the group until 2015. He performed numerous times in concert and on TV. Williamson also sang lead on the albums "Back to the Front," and "Still Here." According to TMZ, Williamson once said that he did "more in six months of being a Temptation than many artists have done in a lifetime."
Originally born in Compton, California, Williamson told Las Vegas Black Image Magazine that he started singing in churches and that this helped him get his soulful roots. He also said that the Temptations' manager Dave Wallace introduced him to Ron Tyson of the group and described him as the "the greatest singer he has ever heard." Williamson said that Tyson groomed him for a decade and tried to get him in the group, but founding member Otis Williams was against it due to him being too big and too young.
"After seven years as a Temptation I am still in awe," Williamson said during the 2013 interview. "I can remember the first time I performed with the group: at a millionaire's private birthday party, on a small stage that was erected on his tennis courts. It was a beautiful house; Stevie Wonder's house was right next door.
"There was a limited amount of room on the stage, and I could not play to the crowd as Otis wanted me to," Williamson continued. "So when we got off the stage, Otis was saying, 'You have to work the crowd,' and I tried to interrupt to tell him why I was having difficulties on the small stage. But soon I got the hint to just listen to his criticism. The next time we performed on stage together, I had enough room to work the crowd and the audience went crazy. When we went off stage Otis said, 'That's what I am talking about!' and it’s been smooth sailing ever since."