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Friday, March 15, 1991 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Howard Ashman, Grammy Songwriter

NEW YORK - Howard Ashman, Oscar- and Grammy-winning songwriter and author-lyricist of the off-Broadway hit ``Little Shop of Horrors,'' died yesterday of complications from acquired immune deficiency syndrome. He was 40.

His death came less than a month after he and composer Alan Menken won a Grammy for their album ``The Little Mermaid.'' A year ago, they won an Academy Award for the song ``Under the Sea'' from the movie.

Ashman had recently completed work on two other Disney features for future release, ``Beauty and the Beast'' and ``Aladdin.''

The best-known Ashman-Menken collaboration was ``Little Shop of Horrors,'' which became the highest-grossing and third-longest-running musical in off-Broadway history. The movie of the same name earned Ashman his first Oscar nomination.

Copyright (c) 1991 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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