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You won’t find her name on billboards and you won’t find her face on the cover of CDs or even as writer or producer of any songs, but she was a legend and important part of Motown. Maxine Powell passed away Monday at the age of 98.
Powell, well known for helping and creating the image of many Motown artists, passed away Monday at a hospital in Southfield, Mich., according to Billboard.
Although her cause of death was not revealed, Powell slipped into a coma on Saturday, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Powell headed the Artist Development Department, which was also referred to as “Motown’s Finishing School.” She mentored artists and taught them how to act and carry themselves.
“I teach class, style, and refinement,” Powell said when talking about her work with Motown.
A close friend of Powell, Beverly Banton, said that Powell’s health had been in decline since she recovered from a fall on May 31.
While unknown to the public, Powell shaped many well-known Motown acts such as the Jackson 5, the deceased singer Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, and many others.
Motown owner Barry Gordy spoke about her on Monday, “She was a star in her own right — an original.”
Classic Motown paid tribute to her on their Twitter, saying:
— Classic Motown (@ClassicMotown) October 15, 2013