Ric Ocasek, lead singer and rhythm guitarist of pioneering New Wave band The Cars, was found dead in his Manhattan apartment Sunday afternoon. Police say the 75-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene after relatives found him unresponsive, Fox News reports. The cause of death is unclear, though police say there was no sign of foul play. Ocasek formed the band in Boston in the mid-1970s with Benjamin Orr and wrote almost all of their songs. He helped “kickstart the New Wave movement by pinning his disaffected vocals against herky-jerky rhythm guitar, dense keyboards, and dancefloor-ready beats,” writes Kory Grow at Rolling Stone. Their first album was their self-titled 1978 debut.
The band’s biggest hit was the 1984 single “Drive,” one of five Top 40 hits from their “Heartbreak City” album. During the filming of the video, Ocasek met his third wife, supermodel Paulina Porizkova. Last year, she announced that they had separated after more than 28 years of marriage. The band split up in 1988 and Orr died of pancreatic cancer in 2000, but the remaining members reunited and released an album in 2011, the BBC reports. Ocasek also released seven solo albums and produced albums from bands including Weezer, Guided by Voices, and Bad Brains. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, where they played together for what turned out to be the final time.