Scott, 68, who jumped 185 feet to his death in Los Angeles Harbor from a suspension bridge around 12:30 p.m. Sunday, left a note with his wife's and other loved ones' contact information in his Toyota Prius, parked on the bridge, the Los Angeles Times and celebrity news Web site TMZ reported.
That information led authorities to a suicide note in his office, the Times said. The note's contents were not revealed.
A source close to Scott told ABC News the respected director had inoperable brain cancer.
Authorities had to use sonar equipment to find Scott because San Pedro Bay was so murky around the Port of Los Angeles. His body was found by a dive team around 4:30 p.m.
Scott, 68, was perhaps best known for directing "Top Gun," starring Tom Cruise as a Navy aviator, in 1986. The film grossed $21.6 million in its first 11 days and went on to gross more than $300 million worldwide.
Scott and Cruise worked together again in the 1990 film "Days of Thunder."
Scott, born in England June 21, 1944, directed five films starring Denzel Washington -- "Crimson Tide" (1995), "Man on Fire" (2004),"Deja Vu" (2006), "The Taking of Pelham 123" (2009) and "Unstoppable" (2010).
His other films include "The Hunger" (1982), "Revenge" (1990), "The Last Boy Scout" (1991), "True Romance" (1993), "The Fan" (1996), "Enemy of the State" (1998) and "Spy Game" (2001).
The last film he directed was "Unstoppable," a 2010 thriller about a runaway freight train.
His TV career included executive producing the series "The Good Wife" and "Numb3rs," both on CBS.
Scott, the younger brother of director Ridley Scott, was married three times and had twin sons, Frank and Max, born in 2000, with his third wife, former Miss North Carolina model and actress Donna Wilson Scott, who appeared in Scott's "Days of Thunder," "The Last Boy Scout" and "The Good Wife."