Ric Ocasek, Lead Singer of The Cars, Dead at 75

ric ocasek
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

The world of rock and roll lost another legend on Sunday, as The Cars lead singer Ric Ocasek died in New York City, ET can confirm. He was 75.

A NYPD spokesperson tells ET that Ocasek died Sunday afternoon at his Manhattan town home. The spokesperson added that Ocasek was found unconscious and unresponsive by his wife, Paulina Porizkova, around 4 p.m. ET. The New York Medical Examiner’s Office found the cause of death to be hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Ocasek was a founding member of The Cars -- a New Wave band known for hits such as "Drive" and "Just What I Needed" -- and played rhythm guitar and keyboard in addition to his iconic vocals. He and the band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.

Ocasek was married three times, and was still married to Porizkova at the time of his death, though the model announced in May 2018 that the pair had separated a year earlier. He was a father to six sons -- Christopher, Adam, Eron, Derek, Jonathan and Oliver -- two from each of his marriages.

Porizkova shared a statement to The Cars Instagram page on Monday, detailing her late husband's passing.

"Ric was at home recuperating very well after surgery. Our two songs, Jonathan and Oliver, and I were making sure he was comfortable, ordering food and watching TV together," she wrote. "I found him still asleep when bringin him his Sunday  morning coffee. I touched his cheek to rouse him. It was then I realized that during the night he had peacefully passed on."

"We appreciate the great outpouring of love. We, his family and friends, are completely and utterly devastated by his untimely and unexpected death and would appreciate the privacy to mourn in private."

Ocasek's youngest sons also shared a memory of their last day with their father. "Our dad was a prolific doodler. His passing was sudden, unexpected, and beyond heartbreaking. Yesterday, we found this last doodle on his armchair," they posted, sharing a photo of the sketches and scribbles, which read in part, "Keep on laughin'. It is what it is." "He couldn’t have known what it would end up meaning to us. We love him so much."

News of Ocasek's death sparked social media tributes from friends, fans and fellow celebs.

"I’m stunned and saddened by the loss of Ric Ocasek - he was a visionary who affected the lives and hearts of everyone who listened to music in the 80s," wrote The Office star Rainn Wilson. "God Speed, Ric! Keep Moving in Stereo!"

"Farewell, Ric Ocasek, architect of a whole sound," tweeted BandCamp senior editor Jes Skolnik. "Perfect hooks forever."

See more tributes to the singer below: 


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