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RIP Ric Ocasek— Rock'n'Roll Legend Dead At 75

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How Did Ric Ocasek Die? New Details On Mysterious Death Of Rock'n'Roll Legend At 75

He was known as many things — but the best way to describe him is as The Architect. 

All of pop music, today, owes more than a slight debt to Ric Ocasek. If you play funky, quirky music that doesn't sound like anything else on the radio (hello, Regina Spektor) — you owe this man. If you write hit songs that still hit a note today (hello, No Doubt) — you owe this man. If you sample his music to create a sound of your own (hello, Bow Wow, and hello, Yelawolf) — you owe this man. And if you incorporate multimedia into your performances (hello, everyone) — you owe this man. 

He influenced so many — and he didn't even realize he did it. 

And for that reason, Ric Ocasek is my rock'n'roll hero. And now, he's gone. 

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How did Ric Ocasek die?

According to NBC Ric Ocasek was found dead in his home in New York City on September 15, 2019. He was 75 years old. Around 4:00 p.m., the NYPD was called to the home because an "unconscious male" was found. Police identified Ocasek at the scene, and he was pronounced dead. As of press time, no cause of death has been released. He is survived by his estranged wife, the model Paulina Porizkova, and his six sons (two with Porizkova, four with his previous two wives).

Ric Ocasek: Man, Myth, Legend

His was a presence that was melancholy and saturnine, yet somehow managed to create the greatest pop music of our time. 

Over the course of a decade — from 1978 to 1988 — his best-known band, The Cars, created timeless pop music. Beginning with their debut album, and spanning the course of six more albums, their best-known hit was, of course, "Drive," which still gets frequent airplay on AOR/soft rock stations today. But their other songs were just as influential and important, and their names invoke a barrage of memories for a whole generation of rock'n'roll fans — "You Might Think," "Touch and Go," "Heartbeat City," and the gorgeous "I'm Not The One." 

For this writer, the song "You're All I've Got Tonight," from their eponymous debut album, triggered a love affair with rock'n'roll that continues to this day. 

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As one of the first acts to be played on MTV, The Cars created the groundbreaking "You Might Think" video, although their crowning achievement was, of course, the hit song "Drive." After the release of "Drive," The Cars went on hiatus, and would not reunite until 2011, when they released Move Like This without founding member Benjamin Orr, who died in 2000. Of Orr, Pitchfork reports that while they were lifelong friends, Ocasek and Orr fell out in his final days, and made a reconciliation impossible. But Ocasek was also a poet, having published a book of his poetry in 1993 called Naked Theatre. He was also a multimedia artist, who exhibited in galleries in Ohio, and produced albums for such artists as No Doubt, Bad Brains, Suicide, and Guided by Voices (though he was best known for his work with Weezer).

Thank you, Ric Ocasek

Tributes to the late, great Ric Ocasek have been pouring in from all over the music world. Musicians of all genres speak fondly of his influence, but what he's most remembered for is his ingenuity and his honesty. 

In the 1980s, his saturnine and melancholy appearance was a stark contrast to the pastel hair metal bands that dominated the airwaves. Today, more than 35 years later, his appearance remains a stark contrast to the fake publicity-based relationships, the series of filters on over-posed selfies, and the production of the same auto-ingestive music over and over. 

For this reason, and for many others, he was my rock'n'roll hero — and a rock'n'roll hero to so many others.

"I would do anything to hold on to you. That's just about anything, until you pull through." — "Emotion in Motion," Ric Ocasek.

Thank you, Ric Ocasek, for everything. 

Go quietly, and peacefully, into that long goodnight.

Bernadette Giacomazzo is an editor, writer, and photographer whose work has appeared in People, Teen Vogue, Us Weekly, The Source, XXL, HipHopDX, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, and more. She is also the author of The Uprising series. For more information about Bernadette Giacomazzo, click here.