NEW YORK, NY – Ric Ocasek, the longtime lead singer of the Cars, is dead. He was found Sunday afternoon by his estranged wife, Paulina Porzikova. He was 75 years old.
Officials tell Patch that Porzikova arrived just after 4 p.m. on Sunday at the East 18th Street townhouse in Manhattan that they had shared and found him unresponsive and called for help. No foul play is suspected and officials believed that the singer died of natural causes.
The Cars burst into the national consciousness in 1978 when they released their self-titled album. It included hits such as “Just What I Needed” and “My Best Friend’s Girl.”
Over the next decade, they released five more albums.
While along associated with the Boston music scene, they started in Cleveland where Ocasek became friends and musical partners with bassist Benjamin Orr in the late 1960s. The two moved to Boston in the early 1970s, forming at least one other band before the Cars.
The band split in 1988 after a run that included 13 top-40 singles including “Shake it Up” in 1981 and “Drive” in 1984. That same year they also received video of the year honors from MTV for “You Might Think.”
They reunited briefly in 2011, releasing “Move Like This.”
It was the group’s only album without longtime bassist and co-founder Orr, who died in 2000.
The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.
After the Cars disbanded, Ocasek released several solo albums, none of which equaled his success with the band. He did find acclaim as a producer, working with groups such as Weezer, No Doubt and the Cribs.
Ocasek was married three times and had two sons from each marriage.
His longest marriage was to Porzikova, then an 18-year-old supermodel whom he met on the set of the video for “Drive.” The two married in 1989 and remained so for more than 25 years.
Last year, Porzikova announced on Instagram that the two had not been together since the year before.
After the announcement, the two put their townhouse on the market.
Ocasek is survived by Porzikova, his two ex-wives, and his six sons.
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