Was Temptations Singer Dennis Edwards Abused Before He Died?

Dennis Edwards, 74, the Grammy-winning singer with famed Motown group The Temptations, died in a Chicago hospital on February 1, 2018. Just days later, the Chicago police have announced they are investigating claims he was abused by his 60-year-old wife Brenda shortly before his death.

Edwards, who suffered a stroke last year in St. Louis, came to Chicago for rehab. According to his wife, Brenda Edwards, he died from complications of meningitis. But it is Brenda that is under suspicion.

Chicago police are not saying if Edwards’ death is connected to allegations filed in January about domestic violence that is reported to have occurred in December. Investigators are waiting for a full autopsy report from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

An investigator with the Healthcare Consortium of Illinois filed a request for an order of protection on Edwards on January 12.

The request accused Brenda, Edward’s wife, of trying to suffocate him by holding his head face down on a bed. On top of that, the investigator alleges that Brenda Edwards took her husband’s hearing aids and hid them. The documents also say Edwards was bed-bound and immobile.

The courts granted an emergency protective order against Brenda Edwards on January 18, barring her from contacting her husband. A hearing was scheduled for February 2 that would have allowed Brenda Edwards to respond to the allegations, but it was cancelled after Edward died.

For her part, Brenda Edwards denies the allegations. In a brief statement Monday, she said, “I loved Dennis, and we were married for 18 years. 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.”

Dennis Edwards was born in Fairfield, Alabama in 1943 and moved to Detroit as a young boy. He was not an original singer with The Temptations, but became an official sixth member in 1968. He sang lead on a number of their biggest hits, including “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World is Today),” “I Can’t Get Next to You,” “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” and “Cloud Nine.” “Cloud Nine” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” both won Grammy awards.

The Temptations

The Temptations at NMAAM 2016 Black Music Honors in 2016; Photo: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for National Museum of African American Music