Ric Ocasek, the pop genius who wrote a string of hits for The Cars, the legendary new-wave act he fronted and played guitar for through the late 1970s through the late ’80s, was found dead in his New York City apartment, according to multiple news reports. He was 75.

Police received a call around 4 p.m. about an unconscious male at a townhouse on East 19th Street who was pronounced dead at the scene, NBC New York reported. The TV station and other outlets said they confirmed with law enforcement that the deceased man was Ocasek.

Page Six cited sources saying Ocasek appeared to have died of natural causes. The Associated Press reported that police said there were no signs of foul play and that the New York City medical examiner ultimately would determine a cause of death following an investigation.

The Cars circa 1978

The origins of The Cars date back to several groups that Ocasek and the late Benjamin Orr formed in the 1960s and ’70s in Ohio and Michigan before relocating to Boston. They’d eventually team up with Greg Hawkes, Elliot Easton and David Robinson to form The Cars in 1976.

The band signed to Elektra Records after “Just What I Needed” off its demo tape began receiving airplay in Boston in 1977, and the band released its self-titled debut the following year, landing three singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and generating airplay for several other songs. The band would go on to score hits off its subsequent albums, honing a quintessentially new wave — and completely unique — sound along the way.

After The Cars’ break-up in 1988, Ocasek continued to record solo albums and worked as an in-demand producer, helming hit albums for Weezer (both the so-called “Blue” and “Green” albums), and putting a heavy pop sheen on Guided By Voices’ divisive Do the Collapse in the late ’90s.

The Cars circa 2011

A decade after Orr’s death in 2000, The Cars reunited, recording a new album, Move Like This, that was released in 2011. They thrilled fans by touring for that album, and, in 2018, the band finally was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Last year, Ocasek also announced that he’d separated from his wife Paulina Porizkova the year before after decades of marriage.

Below, we’ve compiled some of The Cars’ biggest hits and reactions to news of Ocasek’s death.























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