Motown Museum chief curator Lina Stephens says the bassist died July 16 in Nashville, Tenn.
Babbitt’s son Joe Kreinar told The Detroit News his father had been in a hospice and had brain cancer.
Babbitt was born Robert Kreinar in Pittsburgh. He and the Funk Brothers provided a rhythmically and melodically rich background for many Motown hits.
Babbitt laid down bass lines on Stevie Wonder’s Signed, Sealed, Delivered, the Temptations’ Ball of Confusion, Inner City Blues by Marvin Gaye and Edwin Starr’s War.
Well-known for decades among musicians, Babbitt gained wider public recognition through the 2002 film about the Funk Brothers, Standing in the Shadows of Motown.