The Cars had 13 Top 40 hits including “My Best Friend's Girl,” “Just What I Needed,” “Shake It Up” and “Drive”

By Karen Mizoguchi
September 15, 2019 09:58 PM

Ric Ocasek, the lead singer of The Cars, has died. He was 75.

The musician was found dead in New York City on Sunday, according to Entertainment Weekly.

The New York Police Department declared Ocasek dead at the scene, NBC 4 New York reports.

On Monday, his estranged wife Paulina Porizkova said she was the one who found him unconscious and unresponsive. “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,” the mom of two revealed on Instagram.

“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 had peacefully passed on,” she said.

“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,” Porizkova concluded.

Maury Phillips/WireImage

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Also on Monday, the New York City medical examiner’s office released his autopsy. Ocasek died of hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, also known as atherosclerosis, which is a plaque build-up in the arteries and can cause hardening and/or narrowing in the heart muscle.

Pulmonary emphysema, which causes a decrease in respiratory function and breathlessness, was listed as a contributing factor.

Founded in 1976, The Cars became titans of rock’s New Wave genre, scoring 13 Top 40 hits including “My Best Friend’s Girl,” “Just What I Needed,” “Shake It Up” and “Drive.”

The band disbanded in 1988 but reunited in 2010, delivering the album Move Like This the following year. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.

“It’s certainly a wonderful feeling to be accepted by peers and you see the people that are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, who gets inducted, it’s a positive feeling that you get,” he told Rolling Stone of the honor.

Last May, Ocasek and Porizkova split after 28 years of marriage. “Our family always has been — and still is — a well-built car,” Porizkova wrote in an Instagram post at the time. “When the four of us are together, we can go wherever the road takes us. But as a bicycle, my husband and I no longer pedal in unison. So we’re ditching the bicycle.”

Porizkova added, “Ric and I have been peacefully separated for the past year. The photos of our happy family are, in fact, happy family photos; we are just no longer a couple.”

The pair — who had two adult sons together, Jonathan and Oliver — first met while filming the music video for The Cars’ song “Drive” in 1984.

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