Ric Ocasek, singer for The Cars, dead at 75

Sept 15 (Reuters) - Ric Ocasek, the idiosyncratic lead singer and chief songwriter of the 1980s hook-heavy hitmakers The Cars, died on Sunday at the age of 75, New York police said.

Ocasek was pronounced dead at his Manhattan townhouse after his family called to report that he was unresponsive at around 4 p.m. EDT, a New York Police Department spokesman said.

The cause of death will be determined by the city's coroner.

Ocasek, born Richard Theodore Otcasek in Baltimore in 1944, met bass player and future bandmate Benjamin Orr after moving to Cleveland for high school. The pair formed the Cars in mid-1970s Boston.

PHOTOS: Ric Ocasek and his wife Paulina through the years

37 PHOTOS
Paulina Porizkova and Ric Ocasek throughout their relationship
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Paulina Porizkova and Ric Ocasek throughout their relationship
Rock star Ric Ocasek, wife, model Paulina Porizkova, model Iman and boyfriend, rock star David Bowie attending the 7th On Sale AIDS benefit sponsored by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, 1990. (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY - FEBRUARY 22: Model Paulina Porizkova and musician Ric Ocasek attending 'Memorial Tribute to Vaclav Havel' on February 22, 1990 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
NEW YORK CITY - APRIL 3: Model Paulina Porizkova and musician Ric Ocasek attending the premiere party for 'Cry Baby' on April 3, 1990 at the MK Club in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
NEW YORK CITY - NOVEMBER 29: Musician Ric Ocasek and model Paulina Porizkova attending 'CFDA Vogue 7th on Sale Fashion Benefit for AIDS' on November 29, 1990 at the Armory in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
NEW YORK CITY - NOVEMBER 29: Model Paulina Porizkova and musician Ric Ocasek attending '7th On Sale Benefit' on November 29, 1990 at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
NEW YORK CITY - OCTOBER 29: Model Paulina Porizkova and musician Ric Ocasek attending 'Rainbow Celebrity Auction by Town and Country to Benefit Cancer' on October 29, 1991 at Christie's in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
NEW YORK CITY - SEPTEMBER 24: Model Paulina Porizkova and musician Ric Ocasek attending the taping of 'The Sally Jesse Raphael Show' on September 24, 1992 at United Studios in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Paulina Porizkova with Ric Ocasek of The Cars during Rick Ocasek of The Cars at Tunnel - 1993 at Tunnel in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Steve Eichner/WireImage)
NEW YORK CITY - FEBRUARY 7: Model Paulina Porizkova and musician Ric Ocasek attending '13th Council of Fashion Designer of America Awards' on February 7, 1994 at the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
NEW YORK CITY - MARCH 29: Model Paulina Porizkova and musician Ric Ocasek attending the premiere of 'Jefferson In Paris' on March 29, 1995 at the Paris Theater in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Paulina Porizkova and Ric Ocasek during 1996 MTV Video Music Awards Arrivals at Las Vegas Country Club in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
NEW YORK CITY - DECEMBER 16: Model Paulina Porizkova and musician Ric Ocasek attending the New York premiere of 'As Good As It Gets' on December 16, 1997 at Loew's Twin Theater in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
NEW YORK CITY - SEPTEMBER 9: Model Paulina Porizkova and musician Ric Ocasek attending the premiere of 'Grace of My Heart' on September 9, 1996 at the Sony 19th Street Theater in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Paulina Porizkova and Ric Ocasek arriving at the MTV 20th Anniversary party, 'MTV20: Live and Almost Legal' at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City on 8/1/01. Photo by Evan Agostini/ImageDirect
Ric Ocasek and Paulina Porizkova at the MTV 20th Anniversary party, 'MTV20: Live and Almost Legal' at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City on 8/1/01. Photo by Evan Agostini/ImageDirect
Paulina Porizkova, Ric Ocasek & Family (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
NEW YORK - JUNE 18: Model Paulina Porizkova and her husband musician Ric Ocasek attend the launch of 'Living It Up! with Ali & Jack' at Plaid June 18, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Peyton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 19: Musician Ric Ocasek and wife Paulina Porizkova attend the premiere of 'No Direction Home: Bob Dylan' on September 19, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)
Ric Ocasek of The Cars (R), wife Paulina Porizkova and kids (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
Ric Ocasek and Paulina Porizkova during Ric Ocasek and Paulina Porizkova Sighting - June 17, 2006 at SOHO in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Marcel Thomas/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 07: Musician Ric Ocasek and wife Paulina Porizkova pose backstage at the Michon Schur Fall 2007 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at The Salon in Bryant Park February 7, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images for Michon Schur)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 20: Musician Ric Ocasek and model Paulina Porizkova attend the New York Inaugural Royal Gala presented by the Mentor Foundation at the Waldorf Astoria on November 20, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - APRIL 28: Musician Ric Ocasek and wife Paulina Porizkova attend a special screening of 'The Limits of Control' at Landmark's Sunshine Theater on April 28, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
NEW YORK - MAY 04: Musician Ric Ocasek and Paulina Porizkova attend 'The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion' Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 21: Musician Ric Ocasek and model Paulina Porizkova attend the 'Bon Jovi: When We Were Beautiful' New York premiere at the SVA Theater on October 21, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 10: Musician Ric Ocasek and model Paulina Porizkova attend the amfAR New York Gala co-sponsored by M.A.C. Cosmetics to Kick Off Fall 2010 Fashion Week at Cipriani 42nd Street on February 10, 2010 in New York, New York. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 10: Musician Ric Ocasek and model Paulina Porizkova attend the amfAR New York Gala co-sponsored by M.A.C. Cosmetics to Kick Off Fall 2010 Fashion Week at Cipriani 42nd Street on February 10, 2010 in New York, New York. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - FEBRUARY 10: Ric Ocasek and Paulina Porizkova attend amfAR Annual New York Gala to Kick Off FASHION WEEK at Cipriani on February 10, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by JIMI CELESTE/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 06: Musician Ric Ocasek and model Paulina Porizkova attend the 20th Anniversary Celebration of the Children's Defense Fund's Beat the Odds Program at Guastavino's on December 6, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
Ric Ocasek (L) and Paulina Porizkova (R) attend the Jazz & Models Exhibition Opening held at Palazzo Morando on October 4, 2010 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Stefania D'Alessandro/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 21: Musician Ric Ocasek (2nd from L), model Paulina Porizkova (R) and family attend the 'Hugo' premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre on November 21, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 09: Paulina Porizkova and Ric Ocasek attend the HBO premiere of 'Girls' Season 2 at the NYU Skirball Center on January 9, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 21: (L-R) Ric Ocasek and Paulina Porizkova attend the 2013 Museum Gala at the American Museum of Natural History on November 21, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 12: (L-R) Paulina Porizkova, son Oliver Orion Ocasek and husband Ric Ocasek attend 'Rosewater' New York Premiere at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on November 12, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 29: Ric Ocasek and Paulina Porizkova attend Children's Defense Fund's Beat the Odds Gala at the Pierre Hotel on February 29, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Children's Defense Fund)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 9: (L-R) Jonathan Ocasek, Oliver Ocasek, Paulina Porizkova and Ric Ocasek attend Paramount Pictures Presents the New York Premiere of 'Florence Foster Jenkins' at AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 theater on August 9, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 14: Inductee Ric Ocasek of The Cars and Paulina Porizkova attend 33rd Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Public Auditorium on April 14, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Kevin Kane/Getty Images For The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)
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The band's self-titled debut album, featuring the singles "Just What I Needed," "My Best Friend's Girl" and "Good Times Roll," reached Number 18 on the Billboard album charts.

The Cars scored their first top-20 single, "Let's Go," in 1979 and proceeded to launch a succession of hits throughout the 1980s before breaking up in 1988, followed by Orr's death from pancreatic cancer in 2000.

The band reunited for a final album, "Move Like This," in 2010.

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