Ric Ocasek, lead singer of rock band The Cars, has passed away at the age of 75. New York Police received a call at 4 p.m. ET about an unconscious male in an East 19th Street townhome, which he sold earlier this year for $15 million. “He died earlier this evening at his home. He was 75,” the NYPD issued in a statement to HollywoodLife. The singer was later pronounced dead at the scene, but no cause of death has been stated. He was reportedly found in bed unresponsive by estranged Paulina Porzkova, who lived in the same home, according to reports by TMZ. Here are five things to know about the rock legend.
1. He was married to Paulina Porizkova. Ric tied the knot with the 54-year-old supermodel in 1989, and the couple share two sons together, Jonathan Raven, 25, and Oliver Orion, 21. His death comes after she filed for separation in 2018 after a lengthy 28-year marriage. HollywoodLife spoke to Paulina on our podcast in July where she confirmed the couple had split. “We’re still sharing the same house, and spending holidays together, and sometimes doing vacations together,” Paulina told us. “I met my husband when I was 19, so he’s been my whole life. I was with this one man my entire life, until now. That our marriage didn’t work out, it’s neither one of our fault. It was just really a matter of us growing apart. We still love each other, and there’s no bad feelings.” Paulina is originally from Czechoslovakia, but was raised in Sweden. She rose to prominence after appearing on a 1984 Sports Illustrated cover, at the age of 18 and also appeared in his music video for “Drive.”
2. Ric was a father to six kids. Ric has two sons with Paulina, including 21-year-old Oliver, who his mom says “inherited [Ric’s] focus” and is currently pursuing a degree at the Easton School of Music at Rochester University. Their older son, Jonathan, is 25 and also in college. “My older son is in game design, and he’s going back to grad school for game design. He wants to, and is, designing video games. He’s also an English major, so that’s why he’s still living at home and going to grad school,” Paulina confirmed. In addition to his two sons with Paula, Ric is father to Christopher, Derek and Eron from his 17-year marriage to Suzanne Ocasek. Suzanne and and Ric were married from 1971 – 1988. He is also father to son Adam via a previous relationship with Connie Redman and a grandfather to five.
3. He had 13 top 40 singles with The Cars. Ric and his bandmates, who broke up in the late 1980’s after releasing a slew of hits, were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018. The legendary institution referred to the band was “hook-savvy with the perfect combo of new wave and classic rock.” The band appeared at the iconic 1985 Live Aid fundraiser. Their biggest hit is “Drive,” which peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Charts, but they’re also well known for singles “Let’s Go”, “Double Life,” and “It’s All I Can Do.” He also released seven solo albums. After his success with The Cars, he went on to pursue a successful music producing career, working with many other artists.
4 He’s a published poet. Ric published a book of poetry titled Lyrics & Prose in 2012, which was published by Penguin Random House. He had previously experimented with poetry on 1993’s Negative Theatre, which was a European-only release and publishing in Granta. The press release for Lyrics & Prose describes the collection of work as “his lyrics together for the first time — and included throughout are Ocasek’s early handwritten notes and set lists, doodles and all. Ocasek is a versatile and affecting poet as well as songwriter.”
5. He hails from Maryland. Ric grew up in the city of Batimore, however, moved at the age of 16 to Cleveland, Ohio. He graduated high from Maple Height High School and later attended the state’s Bowling Green State University.