Rod Temperton Dead: 'Thriller' Songwriter Dies Aged 66

Rod Temperton, the man behind Michael Jackson’s hit ‘Thriller’, has died aged 66.

The British songwriter - often nicknamed The Invisible Man due to his low profile - passed away in London last week, following a “brief but aggressive” battle with cancer.

<strong>Rod Temperton (pictured with Mica Paris) has died at the age of 66</strong> (Photo: David M. Benett via Getty Images)
Rod Temperton (pictured with Mica Paris) has died at the age of 66 (Photo: David M. Benett via Getty Images)

John Platt, the chairman of the Warner/Chappell music publisher, said (via the Guardian): “His family is devastated and request total privacy at this, the saddest of sad times.”

As well as writing other MJ classics including ‘Rock With You’, ‘Off The Wall’ and ‘Burn This Disco Out’, Rod was previously a member of the band Heatwave during the 1970s.

He was responsible for their hits ‘Boogie Nights’ and ‘Always And Forever’, and after leaving the group in 1978, he went on to write for the likes of George Benson, Donna Summer, Michael McDonald, Anita Baker, Aretha Franklin, The Brothers Johnson, Herbie Hancock and Quincy Jones.

<strong>Rod with his Heatwave bandmates</strong> (Photo: Michael Putland via Getty Images)
Rod with his Heatwave bandmates (Photo: Michael Putland via Getty Images)

Rod - originally from Cleethorpes in north Lincolnshire - was also nominated for an Oscar in 1986 in the Best Original Song category for ‘Miss Celie’s Blues’, which he co-wrote with Lionel Richie and Quincy Jones for the film ‘The Color Purple’.

He later won a Grammy Award in 1990 for his work on Quincy Jones’ ‘Birdland’.

Disco legends Nile Rodgers and Chaka Khan, producer Mark Ronson and rapper LLCoolJ were among those who paid tribute on Twitter.

A private funeral for Rod is said to have already taken place.

Love HuffPost? Become a founding member of HuffPost Plus today.

1968

CIRCA 1968: R&B quintet 'Jackson 5' pose for a portrait in circa 1968. Clockwise from bottom left: Michael Jackson, Tito Jackson, Jackie Jackson, Jermaine Jackson, Marlon Jackson. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
CIRCA 1968: R&B quintet 'Jackson 5' pose for a portrait in circa 1968. Clockwise from bottom left: Michael Jackson, Tito Jackson, Jackie Jackson, Jermaine Jackson, Marlon Jackson. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

1970

CIRCA 1970: Pop singer Michael Jackson of the R&B quintet 'Jackson 5' performs onstage in circa 1970. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
CIRCA 1970: Pop singer Michael Jackson of the R&B quintet 'Jackson 5' performs onstage in circa 1970. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

1970

CIRCA 1970: Pop singer Michael Jackson of the R&B quintet 'Jackson 5' poses for a portrait in circa 1970. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
CIRCA 1970: Pop singer Michael Jackson of the R&B quintet 'Jackson 5' poses for a portrait in circa 1970. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

1971

DECEMBER 1971: Pop singer Michael Jackson of the R&B quintet 'Jackson 5' performs onstage wearing a bright patterned shirt in December 1971. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
DECEMBER 1971: Pop singer Michael Jackson of the R&B quintet 'Jackson 5' performs onstage wearing a bright patterned shirt in December 1971. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

1971

LOS ANGELES - JUNE 1971: Pop singer Michael Jackson of the R&B quintet 'Jackson 5' poses for a portrait wearing a Mickey Mouse t-shirt in circa 1971. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JUNE 1971: Pop singer Michael Jackson of the R&B quintet 'Jackson 5' poses for a portrait wearing a Mickey Mouse t-shirt in circa 1971. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

1972

LOS ANGELES - APRIL 20: Michael Jackson poses for a photo shoot at his Hollywood Hills home on April 20, 1972 in Los Angeles California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - APRIL 20: Michael Jackson poses for a photo shoot at his Hollywood Hills home on April 20, 1972 in Los Angeles California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

1972

Michael Jackson of the Jackson Five, portrait, London, November 1972. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
Michael Jackson of the Jackson Five, portrait, London, November 1972. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)

1973

American singer Michael Jackson (1958 - 2009) on stage with the Jackson Five at the Inglewood Forum in California, 26th August 1973. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
American singer Michael Jackson (1958 - 2009) on stage with the Jackson Five at the Inglewood Forum in California, 26th August 1973. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

1974

American singer Michael Jackson (1958 - 2009) posing in New York in 1974. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
American singer Michael Jackson (1958 - 2009) posing in New York in 1974. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)

1975

JAMAICA - MARCH 01: Photo of Michael JACKSON and JACKSON FIVE; Posed group portrait, full length L-R Tito, Jackie, Michael, Jermaine and Marlon Jackson (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)
JAMAICA - MARCH 01: Photo of Michael JACKSON and JACKSON FIVE; Posed group portrait, full length L-R Tito, Jackie, Michael, Jermaine and Marlon Jackson (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)

1976

LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 7: Pop singer Michael Jackson poses for a portrait session at home on September 7, 1976 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 7: Pop singer Michael Jackson poses for a portrait session at home on September 7, 1976 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

1979

1979: Pop singer Michael Jackson attends an event wearing a sequined shirt and a bow tie in 1979. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
1979: Pop singer Michael Jackson attends an event wearing a sequined shirt and a bow tie in 1979. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

1979

NEW ORLEANS, UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 3: Michael Jackson performing on stage with The Jacksons on their Destiny Tour at the Municipal Auditorium on October 3,1979 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Ebet Roberts/Redferns)
NEW ORLEANS, UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 3: Michael Jackson performing on stage with The Jacksons on their Destiny Tour at the Municipal Auditorium on October 3,1979 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Ebet Roberts/Redferns)

1981

American pop singer Michael Jackson carries the two American Music Awards he won for his album 'Off the Wall,' they are for Favorite Male Vocalist - Soul and R&B, and Favorite Album - Soul and R&B, Los Angeles, January 30, 1981. (Photo by Frank Edwards/Getty Images)
American pop singer Michael Jackson carries the two American Music Awards he won for his album 'Off the Wall,' they are for Favorite Male Vocalist - Soul and R&B, and Favorite Album - Soul and R&B, Los Angeles, January 30, 1981. (Photo by Frank Edwards/Getty Images)

1983

1983: Portrait of American pop star Michael Jackson wearing a red leather jacket at the opening of the stage musical, 'Dream Girls,' Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frank Edwards/Fotos International/Getty Images)
1983: Portrait of American pop star Michael Jackson wearing a red leather jacket at the opening of the stage musical, 'Dream Girls,' Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frank Edwards/Fotos International/Getty Images)

1983

LONDON -1983 : Michael Jackson at the BPI awards to collect an award on behalf of Barbra Streisand held in London 1983.(Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)
LONDON -1983 : Michael Jackson at the BPI awards to collect an award on behalf of Barbra Streisand held in London 1983.(Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)

1984

1984: Pop Star Michael Jackson performs onstage in 1984. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
1984: Pop Star Michael Jackson performs onstage in 1984. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

1984

11th Annual American Music Awards--Michael Jackson (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
11th Annual American Music Awards--Michael Jackson (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

1986

The 14th Annual American Music Awards--Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor (Photo by Barry King/WireImage)
The 14th Annual American Music Awards--Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor (Photo by Barry King/WireImage)

1988

MN - 1988: Pop singer Michael Jackson performs onstage during his 'Bad World Tour' in 1988. (Photo by Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
MN - 1988: Pop singer Michael Jackson performs onstage during his 'Bad World Tour' in 1988. (Photo by Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

1990

Michael Jackson (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
Michael Jackson (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)

1993

The 35th Annual GRAMMY Awards--Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
The 35th Annual GRAMMY Awards--Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

1993

Michael Jackson is Honored With Hollywood Walk of Fame  (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Michael Jackson is Honored With Hollywood Walk of Fame (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

1996

 AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 10: Michael Jackson performs on stage during is 'HIStory' world tour concert at Ericsson Stadium November 10, 1996 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 10: Michael Jackson performs on stage during is 'HIStory' world tour concert at Ericsson Stadium November 10, 1996 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

1997

"Happy Birthday, Elizabeth Taylor: A Celebration of Life"
"Happy Birthday, Elizabeth Taylor: A Celebration of Life"

1999

  SUN CITY, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 5: Former South African President Nelson Mandela (L) claps his hands after American pop-icon Michael Jackson was given a lifetime achievement award during the Kora All Africa music awards in Sun City some 120 km northeast of Johannesburg , 04 September 1999. (Photo credit should read ADIL BRADLOW/AFP/Getty Images)
SUN CITY, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 5: Former South African President Nelson Mandela (L) claps his hands after American pop-icon Michael Jackson was given a lifetime achievement award during the Kora All Africa music awards in Sun City some 120 km northeast of Johannesburg , 04 September 1999. (Photo credit should read ADIL BRADLOW/AFP/Getty Images)

2001

The 16th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
The 16th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

2001

Michael Jackson Tribute Celebrating 30th Anniversary of His Solo Years
Michael Jackson Tribute Celebrating 30th Anniversary of His Solo Years

2003

The 3rd Annual BET Awards -Michael Jackson presents the Lifetime Achievement Award to James Brown (Photo by Steve Grayson/WireImage for BET Entertainment)
The 3rd Annual BET Awards -Michael Jackson presents the Lifetime Achievement Award to James Brown (Photo by Steve Grayson/WireImage for BET Entertainment)

2004

WASHINGTON - MARCH 31: Singer Michael Jackson waves to fans after a meeting with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) on March 31, 2004 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Jackson was on Capitol Hill to meet with African-American lawmakers and offer his support on the fight against AIDS and help for African children. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - MARCH 31: Singer Michael Jackson waves to fans after a meeting with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) on March 31, 2004 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Jackson was on Capitol Hill to meet with African-American lawmakers and offer his support on the fight against AIDS and help for African children. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

2005

SANTA MARIA, CA - JUNE 3: Michael Jackson waves to fans as he arrives fo closing arguements in his child molestation trial at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse June 3, 2005 in Santa Maria, California. Jackson is charged in a 10-count indictment with molesting a boy, plying him with liquor and conspiring to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
SANTA MARIA, CA - JUNE 3: Michael Jackson waves to fans as he arrives fo closing arguements in his child molestation trial at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse June 3, 2005 in Santa Maria, California. Jackson is charged in a 10-count indictment with molesting a boy, plying him with liquor and conspiring to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

2006

Michael Jackson during MTV Video Music Awards Japan 2006 - Press Room at Yoyogi National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Nathan Shanahan/FilmMagic)
Michael Jackson during MTV Video Music Awards Japan 2006 - Press Room at Yoyogi National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Nathan Shanahan/FilmMagic)

2009

LONDON - MARCH 05: Michael Jackson announces plans for Summer residency at the O2 Arena at a press conference held at the O2 Arena on March 5, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Eamonn McCormack/WireImage)
LONDON - MARCH 05: Michael Jackson announces plans for Summer residency at the O2 Arena at a press conference held at the O2 Arena on March 5, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Eamonn McCormack/WireImage)

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting