"Thriller" Songwriter Rod Temperton Dies at 66

"Thriller" Songwriter Rod Temperton Dies at 66

Rod Temperton, the English songwriter that penned Michael Jackson hits like "Thriller" and "Rock With You," has died following a battle with cancer. He was 66 years old.

The news of the musician's passing last week was delivered today (October 5) in a message from Jon Platt, chairman & CEO of Warner/Chappell, the songwriter's publishers. Platt confirmed that Temperton had died in London, and that a private funeral was held.

"His family is devastated and request total privacy at this, the saddest of sad times," he said.

Temperton was born in Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire, and began his music career in the 1970s, joining Heatwave after answering a wanted ad in an issue of Melody Maker. The keyboardist would write hits including "Boogie Nights," "Always & Forever" and "Groove Line" before leaving the project in 1978.

Around that time, he was recruited by Quincy Jones to work on Michael Jackson's Off the Wall. Temperton provided the boogie-heavy title track, as well as "Rock With You" and "Burn This Disco Out."

He'd partner with Jackson and Jones again on 1983's Thriller, providing the collection with the ultra creepy fan-favourite title track, as well as "Baby Be Mine" and "The Lady in My Life."

Throughout his career, Temperton also connected with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Donna Summer, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Rufus & Chaka Khan, and the Carpenters. Additionally, Temperton received two Academy Award nominations in 1986 for his work on The Color Purple: Best Original Score and Best Original Song ("Miss Celie's Blues").

Below, you'll find a few online tributes to the late songwriter, as well as videos of some of his greatest hits.