Singer, songwriter and guitarist Ric Ocasek died in his Manhattan apartment on Sunday afternoon at age 75, New York City police told the Associated Press. Officials said they do not suspect foul play and are awaiting a medical examiner’s report. He is survived by six sons from three marriages, Entertainment Weekly reported, including two from his third wife, model Paulina Porizkova, who separated from him last year.
Born Richard Otcasek in Baltimore, he got his first guitar as a gift from his grandmother. But Ocasek’s musical career really began in Cleveland, where he graduated from high school in 1963. He sneaked into a folk club there and played acoustic guitar in front of an audience for the first time as a teenager, he told Rolling Stone in 2017.
He met bassist Benjamin Orr in Cleveland while Orr was often playing for a local TV program with a band called the Grasshoppers. That’s also where Ocasek said he smoked his first joint.
The Cars’ music video for the song “Double Life” was one of the first 30 aired on VH1, and the band won the inaugural MTV Video of the Year award in 1984 for “You Might Think.”
Viewed by many as standoffish and eccentric, Ocasek acknowledged that people could see him as “forbidding or aloof.” But those who worked with Ocasek described him as dedicated to his craft.
The weezer family is devastated by the loss of our friend and mentor Ric Ocasek, who passed away Sunday. We will miss him forever, & will forever cherish the precious times we got to work and hang out with him. Rest in Peace & rock on Ric, we love you. #RIPRicOcasek #karlscorner pic.twitter.com/JcTXevr6V8
— weezer (@Weezer) September 16, 2019