Ric Ocasek Of The Cars Dies At 75
This article has been updated since it was first published.
Ric Ocasek, lead singer of the The Cars, died Sunday in New York City. He was 75.
Police were called shortly after 4 p.m. to the musician's townhouse at 140 East 19th Street, where his estranged wife Paulina Porizkova reportedly found Ocasek unresponsive in his bed. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
A cause of death was not immediately revealed.
"Ric meant so much to us," read a statement from Weezer. "He produced 3 key weezer albums, Blue, Green and 2014's Everything..., and taught all of us so much about music, recording and songcraft. But more importantly he taught us that one can be in a respected position of great power and yet be absolutely humble and have the biggest sweetest heart in the industry."
Singer Carnie Wilson tweeted: "He was amazing and will be missed. The music of The Cars will inspire people and move people forever." Richard Marx described Ocasek as "truly an original." Tributes also came in from Courtney Love and Flea.
MORE: Eddie Money Dies At 70
The Cars made their live debut on New Year’s Eve in 1976 and released their self-titled first album in 1978. It spawned the this “Just What I Needed” and “My Best Friend’s Girl.” The band would go on to put out six more albums up until 2011 with hits like”Shake It Up,” “You Might Think” and “Drive.”
Ocasek also released seven solo studio albums, one of which contained the 1986 hit "Emotion in Motion."
When The Cars were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, Ocasek said: "I’d like to thank my wheelchaired grandmother for forcing me to sing for her friends, in the parlour when I was five years old. She also had the nerve to buy me a Sears & Roebuck guitar when I was 14. Then one day I heard a song on the radio called 'That’ll Be The Day' by Buddy Holly. So I started playing guitar then. I have to thank her for that."
Ocasek also wrote books of poetry and created mixed-media art that was exhibited in galleries.
"He was a visionary who affected the lives and hearts of everyone who listened to music in the 80s," tweeted actor Rainn Wilson. "God Speed, Ric! Keep Moving in Stereo!" Another actor, Matthew Modine, shared: "Thank you Ric! You and the band created the soundtrack of eternal youth."
Born Richard Theodore Otcasek in Baltimore, he was a teen when his family relocated to Cleveland. It was in Ohio that he befriended Benjamin Orr, with whom he performed in several bands before they co-founded The Cars. (Orr died in 2000 at 53.)
Ocasek was with his second wife Suzanne when he met 18-year-old model Paulina Porizkova in 1984 on the set of The Cars’ video for “Drive.” They married five years later and had two sons together, Jonathan and Oliver. Ocasek and Porizkova separated in 2017.
Ocasek is also survived by his sons Christopher, Adam, Eron and Derek from his first two marriages.
The townhouse where Ocasek's body was found was put on the market in January for $15.25 million U.S.
Listen to music from Ric Ocasek & The Cars