Ric Ocasek, the guitarist and leader of the Cars, was found dead in his Manhattan apartment yesterday (September 15th). According to Rolling Stone, “At approximately 2PM central, police officers responded to a 911 call at Ocasek’s home at 140 E. 19th Street, the rep said. Officers discovered Ocasek unconscious and unresponsive. He was later pronounced dead at the scene, though no cause of death has been revealed. A rep for the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner did not immediately reply to a request for comment.”
Ocasek is survived by six sons, two from each of his three marriages. At the time of his death he was estranged from his third wife, supermodel Paulina Porizkova.
Ric Ocasek, who was born Richard Theodore Otcasek in Cleveland, is responsible for some of the most timeless and important pop/rock/new wave classics recorded between 1978 and 1985: literally writing every hit the Cars scored during their original eight-year run. Ocasek, who played rhythm guitar, shared lead vocal duties with late-bassist Benjamin Orr, and wrote such instant radio staples as “Just What I Needed,” “Shake It Up,” “Since You’re Gone,” “You Might Think,” “Good Times Roll,” “Touch And Go,” “Drive,” “Tonight She Comes,” “Heartbeat City,” “Let’s Go,” “Magic,” and “My Best Friend’s Girl.”
The Cars split in 1988 and reunited in 2011 for their first album in 24 years, titled Move Like This. In 2018 the band was finally inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. Between 1982 and 2005 Ocasek released seven solo albums.