Ric Ocasek, Co-Founder of The Cars, Dies

By Andrew Breazeale, Contributor
[Photo courtesy of The Cars]

Ric Ocasek, the co-founder, vocalist and lead guitarist of The Cars, was found dead in New York on Sunday afternoon. He was discovered in his townhouse on East 19th Street and was pronounced dead at the scene. According to an updated report in The New York Times, he died of natural causes. Sources are unclear about Ocasek’s age, with reports saying he was 70 or 75.

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As a part of the new wave rock band The Cars, Ocasek had a long and revered music career. Born in Baltimore, Ocasek later moved to Ohio and met Benjamin Orr, Elliot Easton, Greg Hawkes and David Robinson, all of whom would later become known as The Cars. Known for combining rock and synth-pop, the band became quite well known in the early 1980s. The Cars sold 6 million copies of their debut album, The Cars, and won the 1994 MTV “ Video of the Year” Award for their song “You Might Think.”

After breaking up in 1988, The Cars went their separate ways until 2011, when the group reunited to release one more album together. After their short-lived reunion in 2011, both The Cars and Ocasek flew under the radar until their Hall of Fame induction in 2018. Their Hall of Fame performance was the last time the surviving members played with Ocasek. 

But even without The Cars by his side, Ocasek was always making music, releasing solo albums as well as producing albums for the likes of Weezer and Suicide, among others. 

Weezer, Billy Idol and many others posted on Twitter to express their dismay at the passing of famed rock idol Ric Ocasek, whose influence spread and will continue to spread throughout the music industry.


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