Rod Temperton, the songwriter who penned Michael Jackson hit “Thriller,” died last week. He was 66.

Rod Temperton Dies

Temperton died last week in London following “a brief aggressive battle with cancer,” Warner/Chappell music publishing’s Jon Platt told the BBC. “His family is devastated and request total privacy at this, the saddest of sad times.”

In addition to “Thriller,” Temperton also wrote popular Jackson tracks “Rock With You,” “Off the Wall,” and “Baby By Mine.” Temperton was behind the Heatwave hit “Boogie Nights” and George Benson’s “Give Me The Night.” Despite all of his other successes, “Thriller” is the track for which Temperton is best remembered.

“I went back to the hotel, wrote two or three hundred titles and came up with ‘Midnight Man,'” Temperton recalled in 2009 about finding the right title for the famous song. “The next morning I woke up and I just said this word (thriller). Something in my head just said, ‘This is the title’. “You could visualize it at the top of the Billboard charts. You could see the merchandising for this one word, how it jumped off the page as ‘Thriller'”

Temperton earned a Grammy Award in 1990 for “Birdland,” which appeared on Quincy Jones‘s album Back on the Block. In 1986, Temperton had received a pair of Oscar nominations for his work on The Color Purple soundtrack with Jones.