Ocasek's estranged wife, supermodel Paulina Porizkova, found him "unconscious and unresponsive" at 4:04 p.m. in his Gramercy Park apartment. The NYPD confirmed "it appears to be natural."
The NYPD said in a statement obtained by "Extra": "On Sunday, September 15, 2019, at approximately 1604 hours responded to a 911 call of a person of a deceased... within the confines of the 13th Precinct. Upon arrival officers observed a 75-year-old male unconscious and unresponsive. The male was pronounced deceased on scene. The Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death and the investigation remains ongoing."
According to the Medical Examiner's Office, Ocasek died of heart disease.
On Monday, Porizkova opened up about his death, writing 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,” she continued. “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."
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Born March 23, 1944, Ocasek spent his youth in Baltimore, dropping out of college to pursue a career in music. In 1965, he met Benjamin Orr, with whom he would collaborate musically for over a decade before they formed the Cars in Boston in 1976 with Elliot Easton, David Robinson and Greg Hawkes.
Ocasek handled most of the band's lead vocals, writing, and production, as well as producing for other artists.
Until they disbanded for the first time in 1988, the Cars were one of the hottest bands in the world, logging such hit singles as "Just What I Needed" (#27, 1978), "My Best Friend's Girl" (#35, 1978), "Good Times Roll" (#41, 1979), "Let's Go" (#14, 1979), "Shake It Up" (#4, 1981), "Since You're Gone" (#41, 1982), "You Might Think" (#7, 1984), "Magic" (#12, 1984), "Drive" (#3, 1984), "Hello Again" (#20, 1984), and "Tonight She Comes" (#7, 1985), among others. They released seven studio albums, including one in 2011 recorded 11 years after Orr died of cancer. A short tour, the band's last, followed.
At the height of their popularity, the Cars were also a rare rock band that released cutting-edge music videos, including the giddily gimmicky clip for "You Might Think," which in 1984 became MTV's first-ever Video of the Year winner.
Last year, the Cars were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the surviving members reunited to play together at the ceremony for what became one last time.
Outside of the Cars, Ocasek released seven solo albums, achieving a #15 hit single in 1986 with "Emotion in Motion."
Ocasek was married three times. His third wife was Porizkova, who he met when she starred in the band's "Drive" music video. They wed in 1989, and announced their separation in 2018.
He is survived by Porizkova and by his six sons, two from each union.