BIRMINGHAM -- Eddie Kendricks, 52, a founding member of the Temptations and the falsetto lead for hits such as "The Way You Do the Things You Do," died of lung cancer Oct. 5 at a hospital here in his native city.

When the Temptations was formed in Detroit in 1961, the group consisted of Kendricks, Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin, Paul Williams and Elbridge Bryant. David Ruffin replaced Bryant in 1964 and the group signed with the Motown label.

The group had its first No. 1 hit with "My Girl" in 1965, followed by "It's Growing" and "Since I Lost My Baby" that same year. Kendricks sang lead on hits such as "Just My Imagination," "I'll Be In Trouble" and "Get Ready."

"Eddie just had that great, great tenor voice that just was so captivating," Esther Edwards, the group's first manager and the sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr., said recently. "He had such admirers, men and women. But the ladies really loved Eddie and his style . . . . He just had a sweet, melodious, captivating, tender sound."

The Temptations went on to become Motown's most successful male group, making more than a dozen hit singles and trailing only the Supremes for supremacy on the charts.

"While the Four Tops covered the frenetic side of the Motown sound and the Miracles monopolized its romantic side, the Temptations quite simply stood as the finest vocal group in '60s soul," Joe McEwen and Jim Miller wrote in the Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll. "They could outdress, outdance and outsing any competition in sight."

Mr. Kendricks began a solo career in 1971, but he rejoined the group in 1982 for a "Reunion" tour. He was reunited with the band again in 1989 as it was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Mr. Kendricks and Ruffin began working together after their 1985 album, "Live at the Apollo," with the pop duo Hall and Oates.

Paul Williams killed himself in 1973, two years after he was asked to leave the group because of alcoholism and related health problems. Ruffin died of a drug overdose last year, shortly after completing a European tour with Mr. Kendricks and another former Temptation, Dennis Edwards.

Mr. Kendricks underwent surgery in Atlanta last year to have a lung removed. He later said the disease was caused by 30 years of smoking, and he urged children not to smoke.

USA Today reported yesterday that Mr. Kendricks dropped the "s" from his last name after launching his solo singing career.

Survivors include his parents and a sister.