Tom Whitlock, ‘Take My Breath Away’ Songwriter and ‘Top Gun’ Composer, Dead at 68
The Academy Award and Golden Globe winner died Friday, Feb. 17.
Songwriter-composer Tom Whitlock died Friday, Feb. 17, following a battle with Alzheimer's disease, several friends confirmed. He was 68.
The Springfield, Missouri, native was best known for writing memorable tracks "Take My Breath Away"—which won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award in 1986 for Best Original Song—and "Danger Zone," both featured in famed '80s blockbuster, Top Gun.
Post high school, Whitlock moved to California, with aspirations of making it in the music industry with his rock band. Instead, he found success as an assistant engineer, participating in recording efforts for hit films Scarface and Beverly Hills Cop.
Larry Lipscomb, Whitlock's friend and former classmate, remembered the composer as a "quiet man with a big heart who leaves behind a large group of friends scattered across the country," according to Springfield News-Leader, an outlet from the two's hometown.
"I'd like to sit down and have one more story with him," Lipscomb admitted, citing Whitlock's entertaining storytelling capabilities while detailing his Hollywood adventures to loved ones.
The music-lover also continued to enjoy rocking out throughout his adult life, often joining the Ozark Mountain Daredevils as a fill-in drummer.
Daredevils member John Dillon was "saddened" to learn the news, saying, "He was just a good musician and a really, really good guy," while another musician belonging to the rock group recollected his "really dry wit" and down-to-earth, relatable nature.
In addition to the Top Gun hits, Whitlock found success with several other projects, including "Hand in Hand," the theme song for the 1988 Summer Olympics in South Korea, as well as "To Be Number One," the theme of the 1990 FIFA World Cup.