Temptations Singer Dennis Edwards May Have Been Abused Before His Death: Report

Dennis Edwards performs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tribute concert on Nov. 5, 2011, in Cleveland. (Jason Miller/Getty Images for Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame)

Dennis Edwards, the man whose rich, raspy voice held the bottom of so many of the Temptations’ hits, including “I Can’t Get Next to You” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” was allegedly abused before his death, according to a recent report.

Edwards died on Thursday, Feb. 1, from complications from meningitis.


The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that an adult-protective-services investigator filed court documents on behalf of the singer on Jan. 12 in Chicago.

There is an allegation in the documents that Edwards’ wife, Brenda Edwards, attempted to suffocate the 74-year-old by holding his head facedown on a bed. The investigator also alleges that Brenda took her husband’s hearing aids from him while he was “bedbound and immobile.”

The court did, in fact, grant an emergency protective order against Brenda on Jan. 18. Brenda Edwards was to have her day in court to respond to the allegations on Friday, but Dennis died the day before. The protective order was vacated on Friday, after Dennis’ death.

Brenda Edwards vehemently disputes the accusations made against her. The Post-Dispatch reports that she released a statement on Monday night.


“I loved Dennis, and we were married for 18 years,” she said. “I would have never done anything to harm him. These allegations are false and defamatory and will be proven as such. Until this is all over, I have no further comment.”

The Chicago Police Department confirmed Monday that there is an open criminal investigation into the matter.


Dennis and Brenda Edwards were married at the time of his death and lived in North St. Louis County, but reportedly moved to Chicago for better health care.

Although there is limited information on elder abuse in the African-American community, the National Center on Elder Abuse reveals that African Americans are disproportionately affected by financial exploitation and psychological mistreatment. The majority of those cases, however, happened with someone other than a family member or trusted friend, meaning that African Americans may be more vulnerable to scams initiated by strangers.

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Angela Helm

Ms. Bronner Helm is a Contributing Editor at The Root. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.