Rod Temperton, the songwriter behind some of Michael Jackon's biggest hits, has died of cancer at age 66.
Temperton wrote Jackson's hit single "Thriller" (the now-iconic video of which debuted in 1983), as well as his 1979 No. 1 hit "Rock With You." The chairman of music publisher Warner/Chappell, Jon Platt, confirmed Temperton's death, reports The Guardian. The songwriter passed away last week after "a brief aggressive battle with cancer.”
"His family is devastated and request total privacy at this, the saddest of sad times," Platt said.
Neil Portnow, president and CEO of The Recording Academy, also shared his thoughts via the Grammys' Twitter account.
Temperton wrote a total of three songs on Jackson's 1982 album Thriller. He also wrote songs for Donna Summer, Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, and many other singers over his decades-long career.