Ric Ocasek, front man of The Cars, died September 15, 2019 at age 75. As reported by Yahoo News, according to an autopsy report released Monday by the New York City medical examiner’s office, Ocasek died of cardiovascular disease. The specific cause of death was listed as hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, or atherosclerosis, a build-up of plaque in the arteries that can cause hardening and/or narrowing in the heart muscle. Pulmonary emphysema was also a contributing factor.
Ric’s ex-wife Paula Porizkova posted the following statement on Instagram: “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 had peacefully passed on. 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.”
From Ric’s sons: Our dad was a prolific doodler. His passing was sudden, unexpected, and beyond heartbreaking. Yesterday, we found this last doodle on his armchair. He couldn’t have known what it would end up meaning to us. We love him so much. pic.twitter.com/bJNpXSQgDO
— The Cars (@thecarsband) September 16, 2019
Born Richard Otcasek in Baltimore, MD, on March 23, 1944, Otcasek was 16 when he became interested in music via such early rockers as Buddy Holly & the Crickets. In the early ’70s, Otcasek moved from Cleveland to Boston and began playing in a folk band called Milkwood with friend Ben Orzechowski. They released a lone, forgotten album in 1973 called How’s the Weather. When the record failed to chart, the group promptly split up, but Otcasek and Orzechowski would remain together. Inspired by proto-punk outfits the Modern Lovers, the Velvet Underground, and Roxy Music, they formed Rick & the Rabbits and changed their last names from Orzechowski to Orr, and Otcasek to Ocasek.
By the mid-’70s, the new band included additional members Greg Hawkes (keyboards/synths), Elliot Easton (guitar), and former Modern Lovers member Dave Robinson (drums). Shortly after, the quintet changed its name to the Cars (with Ocasek becoming the undisputed leader — penning all of their tunes), resulting in a more streamlined sound and look, which fit in perfectly with the burgeoning new wave movement. Signed to Elektra, the group rocketed to stardom on the strength of their classic, mega-selling self-titled debut in 1978, and with further releases such as 1979’s Candy-O, 1980’s Panorama, and 1981’s Shake It Up, the band became one of the top rock bands in the U.S. It was also during this time that Ocasek began to branch out artistically by producing for Suicide, Bad Brains, Romeo Void, and Iggy Pop, and issuing his 1982 solo debut Beatitude.
With the advent of MTV, the way a band looked proved almost just as important as the music, and the Cars seemed to be custom-made for the new channel as their 1984 release Heartbeat City became one of the year’s biggest rock records, spawning several Top Ten singles and heavily rotated and stylish videos. Ocasek found himself in the tabloids around this time when he began dating, and eventually marrying, fashion model Paulina Porizkova (who had appeared in the video for the Cars’ hit ballad “Drive”). 1986 saw Ocasek release his second solo effort, This Side of Paradise, before returning to the Cars for what would be their final album, 1987’s mildly received Door to Door, before splitting up a year later. The Cars were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.RIP Ric Ocasek. The music lives on forever. Watch 'Drive' and 'Magic'on ZRock and share your favorite The Cars songs.Click To Tweet
Ric Ocasek also produced albums for several acts, including Bad Religion, Black 47, Johnny Bravo, D Generation, Guided By Voices, Hole, Possum Dixon, Martin Rev, Jonathan Richman, and both of Weezer’s hit self-titled releases in 1994 and 2001.
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The whole weezer family is devastated by the loss of our friend and mentor Ric Ocasek, who passed away Sunday. Ric meant so much to us. He produced 3 key weezer albums, Blue, Green and 2014’s “Everything…”, and taught all of us so much about music, recording and songcraft. But more importantly he taught us that one can be in a respected position of great power and yet be absolutely humble and have the biggest sweetest heart in the industry. Ric was so kind to us, and never faltered or changed a thing either professionally or personally in the 3 different decades we worked with him. When you were his friend, it was for life, and he was always as generous as could be with his time and care. He is the only producer to have worked with all 7 current and past weezer members, and all 7 love and loved working with him and hanging out with him. There is a massive hole in weezer’s heart now. We will miss him forever, and will forever cherish the precious times we got to work and hang out with him. Rest in Peace and rock on Ric, we love you. #RIPRicOcasek #weezerfam #karlscorner
source: Yahoo News, allmusic.com