Ric Ocasek, the lead singer of The Cars, died on Sunday at his New York townhouse, police said. The singer was 75 years old. The Cars were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and were a mainstay on the pop charts for more than a decade thanks to hits like "Just What I Needed," "My Best Friend's Girl" and "Good Times Roll."
Police told NBC New York they got a call at around 4 p.m. about an unconscious male at a home on East 19th Street. Ocasek was pronounced dead at the scene. Law enforcement sources confirmed to NBC New York that Ocasek was the deceased.
Sources told Page Six the cause of death appears to be natural causes. Page Six reports Ocasek's estranged wife, Paulina Porizkova, discovered him.
The Cars, made up of Ocasek, Elliot Easton, Greg Hawkes, David Robinson and Benjamin Orr, released one of the most successful debut albums ever with their 1978 self-titled album. The Cars included "Just What I Needed," "My Best Friend's Girl" and "Good Times Roll," all hits still played on the radio daily. Their 1979 follow-up Candy-O was just as successful, with the singles "Double Life," "It's All I Can Do" and "Let's Go."
The group first broke up in 1988, but reunited in 2010 to record their final album, Move Like This. In 2018, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, reuniting one final time.
"Any time you get an award for something, whether its a bowling trophy or whatever, you feel a little special from it, I suppose," Ocasek told Rolling Stone in 2017, after the group's induction was announced. "It’s certainly a wonderful feeling to be accepted by peers and you see the people that are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, who gets inducted, it’s a positive feeling that you get. I think it’s kind of a big thing for me and the band. I know Ben would have been flipped out by it. I think everyone will be, but I haven’t even spoke to the band today. It’s certainly a very positive thing."
Ocasek also recorded a handful of solo albums, with his last, Nexterday, released in 2005. His biggest solo hit was 1986's "Emotion in Motion."
In that same Rolling Stone interview, Ocasek said the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction would be a "good cap on the bottle" of the Cars' career.
"I thought, 'I kind of started playing here and I could stop playing here, in Cleveland. This could be the bookends. One guy on a guitar playing bad songs and then I’m in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 45 years later,'" he said.
Ocasek is survived by Porizkova. Last year, Ocasek and Porizkova announced their separation after 29 years of marriage. He has six sons, two from his first marriage, two from his second and two with Porzikova.
Photo credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images
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