Epic Records/Estate of Michael JacksonRod Temperton, the sole writer of Michael Jackson’s smash hits “Thriller,” “Rock with You” and “Off the Wall,” has died at age 66, Billboard reports.

According to the head of Temperton’s music publishing company, Temperton died last week after “a brief aggressive battle with cancer,” and a private funeral was held last week.

Temperton’s first hits came as a member of the disco group Heatwave — he wrote their big singles “Always & Forever” and “Boogie Nights.” After he left the group, he worked with Quincy Jones on Michael Jackson’s 1979 solo album,. Off the Wall. In addition to “Rock with You” and “Off the Wall,” he also wrote the song “Burn This Disco Out” for that album. On 1982’s Thriller, Temperton wrote the title track, as well as “Baby Be Mine” and “The Lady in My Life.”

Among Temperton’s other hits: “Sweet Freedom,” the Michael McDonald hit from the movie Running Scared, and the 1980 George Benson smash “Give Me the Night.” He and Jones also wrote “Miss Celie’s Blues” for The Color Purple soundtrack, which earned them an Oscar nod.

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