‘Thriller’ songwriter Rod Temperton dies in London at age 66

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LONDON (AP) _ Songwriter Rod Temperton has died of cancer in London. He was 66.

His music publisher said Wednesday in a statement that the man who wrote Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and other hits had died last week. It did not say exactly when.

Jon Platt of Warner/Chappell said Temperton was the sole writer of “Thriller,” “Off the Wall,” “Rock with You” and other major hits. He said Temperton’s family is “devastated” and is planning a private funeral.

Temperton started his career in the disco band Heatwave and collaborated with Aretha Franklin, Herbie Hancock, Anita Baker and others.

He was best known as a songwriter and worked closely with producer Quincy Jones. Platt said he was sometimes known as “the invisible man” for his behind-the-scenes role.