Alan Thicke's Ex-Wife Gloria Loring Remembers His Passion for Music: "I Learned So Much From Him About Songwriting"

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"The centerpiece of our family has been whisked away from us," said Thicke's ex-wife, actor and singer Loring.

Alan Thicke's death on Tuesday came as a shock to his fans and family alike, as the 69-year-old suffered a heart attack while playing hockey with his teenage son.

"The centerpiece of our family has been whisked away from us," Thicke's ex-wife, actor and singer Gloria Loring told Billboard. The two were married from 1970-1984 and share two sons, one of whom is singer Robin Thicke.

Aside from the Growing Pains role as patriarch Jason Seaver that made Thicke a household name in the 1980s, he had a successful career as a television writer, producer and theme song composer. Among his best known pieces were the themes to sitcoms Diff'rent Strokes and The Facts of Life, both of which he wrote with Loring.

"He was so prolific with words, I learned so much from being around him about songwriting," said Loring. "It was really fun. And, of course, here we are all these later and Facts of Life is still one of the top theme songs ever."

Loring continued, recalling Thicke's knack for language, citing lyrics from the Facts of Life theme as an example.

"What impressed me about him and sitting down and actually working on something together was the internal rhymes he would come up with," she said. "He came up with 'There's a time you got to go and show/ You're growin' now you know about ...' and I went 'Wow!' He just had this great facility with words."

Thicke also wrote the song "Don't Let Me Change the Way You Are" on Loring's 1986 self-titled album. She said he would help her with live performance notes as well, for instance, recommending a change to a song's intro.

Clearly, Thicke and Loring's passion for music was passed down to their children. Loring recalled Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and Aretha Franklin often playing on the stereo and Thicke whipping out his guitar at parties. 

"There was a lot of music in the house and if there were parties, the guitars would come out and Alan played a passable guitar and we would all sing and we always wound up singing [Don McLean's] "American Pie," Loring said. "And you know the kids were around and they just absorbed all that music."

This article originally appeared on Billboard.com.

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