The Cars fans are mourning the death of frontman Ric Ocasek, who was found dead in his Manhattan home on Sunday. He was 75, according to the New York Police Department, although The New York Times reports other records show he was 70.
Although no cause of death has yet been released, the former lead singer of the New Wave band reportedly died of "natural causes," according to Page Six. A spokesman for NYPD confirmed Ocasek's death and said that he was found "in his bed and unconscious and unresponsive" after a 911 call came in around 4 p.m. on Sunday for a male in need of aid inside a residence on East 19th Street.
Page Six reports that Ocasek's estranged wife, model Paulina Porizkova, found him "around 4:14 p.m. inside his Gramercy Park pad." TMZ also reported that Ocasek was already dead when he was found and that no foul play is expected.
Poritzkova announced in May 2018 that they had separated a year prior, but she was present with him at the Cars' Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction that same year. Ocasek shared two children with Poritzkova and had been previously married two other times. He had six children in all.
The Cars were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last year alongside the Dire Straits, Bon Jovi, Nina Simone and The Moody Blues. Ocasek and the other surviving members of the group reunited for the ceremony in Cleveland and were inducted by The Killers' Brandon Flowers, who fittingly described the band as "a slick machine with a 340 V8 under the hood that ran on synergy, experimentation and a redefined cool. They had it all: the looks, the hooks, Beat romance lyrics, killer choruses."
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The Cars are best known for their ubiquitous radio singles like "Just What I Needed" (1978), "Shake It Up" (1981), "You Might Think" (1984) and "Drive" (1984). The five albums the Cars released from 1978 to 1984 each sold a million copies in the United States.
Born Richard Theodore Otcasek in Baltimore, Maryland, Ocasek's family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, when he was a teenager, and he briefly attended Antioch College and Bowling Green University before dropping out to pursue music. Together with Benjamin Orr, who died in 2000, he worked in multiple bands before moving to Boston and forming the Cars in the late 1970s with Elliot Easton on guitar, Greg Hawkes on keyboards and David Robinson on drums.
The Cars disbanded in 1988 as Ocasek and Orr grew apart. Ocasek took a job as senior vice president of artists and repertoire for Elektra, but lasted less than a year. He produced music for Weezer, Bad Religion and No Doubt. Weezer wrote on Twitter that the group is "devastated" by Ocasek's death and "while forever cherish the precious times we got to work and hang out with him."
Ocasek is survived by Porizkova, their two children — Jonathan Raven Otcasek and Oliver Otcasek — and four sons from previous marriages: Christopher, Adam, Eron and Derek.