Michael Masser, Songwriter for Whitney Houston and Diana Ross, Dies at 74

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Whitney Houston

He penned iconic hits such as Houston's "The Greatest Love of All" and Ross' "Touch Me In the Morning."

Michael Masser, a songwriter, producer and composer who penned hits for Whitney Houston, Diana Ross and Gladys Knight, died in Rancho Mirage, Calif. on Thursday. He was 74.

Masser's hits included Houston's "The Greatest Love of All," Ross' "The Last Time I Saw Him" and "Tonight I Celebrate My Love For You" by Roberta Flack and Peabo Bryson. In 2007, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

His first big hit came with Ross' chart-topping recording of "Touch Me In the Morning," which he co-wrote and co-produced. That was followed with Ross' "Theme from 'Mahogany' (Do You Know Where You're Going To?)," which he co-wrote with Gerald Goffin and also hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

While producing Teddy Pendergrass' 1984 album Love Language, he recorded the Whitney Houston duet "Hold Me." From there, Masser and Houston began years of fruitful collaboration, including three No. 1 hits from her first two albums: "The Greatest Love of All," "Saving All My Love" and "Didn't We Almost Have It All."

Further success continued as a songwriter-producer into the 1990s, amounting to over three decades of notable work.

More than three years ago, Masser suffered a major stroke, The Desert Sun reports, from which he never fully recovered.

Masser is survived by his wife, Ogniana Masser; sister, Rhoda Lev; daughters Jennifer Convery and Aleksandra Rouschkolb; son Sean Masser; and grandchildren Joshua and Ryan Masser.

Ross posted words of remembrance to Twitter Friday:

This article originally appeared on Billboard.com.

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