Ric Ocasek, lead singer of the new wave rock band The Cars, died Sunday in New York City, police said. He was 75.
Although no official cause of death has yet been reported, Page Six reports that the rocker died of natural causes.
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 a little after 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.
Initially, it was reported that Ocasek died of “natural causes.” According to TMZ, the rock music icon suffered from heart disease, which the New York City Chief Medical Examiner has attributed to being the main factor in his death, citing “hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.” Essentially, this means that heart disease caused by high blood pressure is what caused Ocasek’s death.
The singer’s widow, Paulina Porizkova previously commented on his death, sharing details of when she discovered that he’s passed away. “Ric was at home recuperating very well after surgery. Our two sons, Jonathan and Oliver, and I were making sure he was comfortable, ordering food and watching TV together. I found him still asleep when bringing him his Sunday morning coffee. I touched his cheek to rouse him. It was then I realized that during the night he peacefully passed on,” she wrote in an Instagram post.
From 1978 to 1988, Ocasek and the Cars merged a vision of romance, danger and nocturnal intrigue and the concision of new wave with the sonic depth and ingenuity of radio-friendly rock. The Cars managed to please both punk-rock fans and a far broader pop audience, reaching into rock history while devising fresh, lush extensions of it.
The Cars disbanded in 1988 as Ric Ocasek and Mr. Orr grew apart. Ocasek had begun making music on his own while still in the group and would eventually release seven solo albums from 1982 through 2005, though without the popularity of his Cars catalog.
Ocasek married the model and actress Paulina Porizkova in 1989; they met in 1984 while the Cars were making the music video for “Drive.” She announced in 2018 that they had separated a year earlier. He is survived by their two children, Jonathan Raven Otcasek and Oliver Otcasek, and four sons from previous marriages: Christopher, Adam, Eron and Derek.