Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Ric Ocasek, lead singer of the rock band The Cars, died Sunday in New York at age 75.
Police said they received a call around 4 p.m. for an unconscious male at a townhouse on East 19th Street. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The medical examiner's office said the cause of death was heart disease, with emphysema as a complication.
Ocasek and his band were inducted into the Rock Hall in 2018. The institution described the band as "hook-savvy with the perfect combo of new wave and classic rock."
Benjamin Orr, who played bass and also sang, and Ocasek were ex-hippie buddies who formed The Cars in Boston in 1976. They were a decade older than many of their modern-rock compatriots but became one of the most essential American bands of the late 1970s and 1980s with their fusion of new wave, 1960s pop and 1970s glam.
The band had 13 top-40 singles, including radio staples like "Good Times Roll" and "Just What I Needed," and Ocasek went on to a successful producing career after The Cars broke up in the late 1980s.
He was also known for his long-running marriage to the Czech supermodel Paulina Porizkova. She announced their separation in 2018 after 28 years of marriage.
They listed the 19th Street residence for sale earlier this year for more than $15 million.
In announcing the separation last year, Porizkova said that their family is "a well-built car." But she says that "as a bicycle, my husband and I no longer pedal in unison." Ocasek had six sons, two from each of his three marriages.
He grew up in Baltimore, and his family moved to Cleveland when he was a teenager. After graduating high school he had stints at Antioch College and Bowling Green State University in the mid-1960s before dropping out to pursue music.