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Rod Temperton, 'Thriller' songwriter, dead at 66

Judith Lynch

The man who wrote some of Michael Jackson's biggest hits has died. While it's only being reported today, Rod Temperton died last week in London after a brief but aggressive battle with cancer.

Temperton wrote three songs that appeared on Jackson's breakthrough solo album, Off the Wall, including the title track and "Rock With You." He also wrote "Thriller," which appeared on Jackson's 1982 album of the same name. Temperton also wrote hit songs for artists like George Benson, Patti Austin, James Ingram, Donna Summer, Aretha Franklin, Herbie Hancock and Michael McDonald. In 1986, Temperton was nominated for an Oscar for his co-write of "Miss Celie's Blues" for the film adaptation of Alice Walker's The Color Purple, and he won a Grammy for his work on "Birdland" from Quincy Jones's 1989 album, Back on the Block.