According to the Daily News, MacDonald's health declined in recent years following a stroke and lung cancer.
Born in Harlem in 1944, MacDonald got his start with Harry Belafonte's band at the age of 17. In 1978 he won Grammy awards for producing and performing on "Calypso Breakdown," which was featured on the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack.
He went on to launch his own publishing company, Antisia Music, with friends Bill Salter and Williams Eaton.
Soon after, he began to write songs for an elite list of accomplished artists, including the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Luther Vandross, Amy Winehouse, James Taylor and more.
He is survived by his wife Grace and four children.
No funeral plans have been announced.