The rock community is reeling from the loss of Cars leader Ric Ocasek, who died on September 15th of died of heart disease, worsened by emphysema at age 75. The news came just as the music world was left bruised by the death of Eddie Money, who died on September 13th at age 70 due to complication from stage 4 esophageal cancer.
Ric Ocasek rote such instant radio staples as the Cars’ “Just What I Needed,” “Shake It Up,” “Since You’re Gone,” “You Might Think,” “Good Times Roll,” “Drive,” “Let’s Go,” “Magic,” and “My Best Friend’s Girl,” among many others.
Ocasek’s estranged wife, Paulina Porizkova posted a message attributed to the Ocasek family which reads:
Ric was at home recuperating very well after surgery. Our two songs, 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. We appreciate the great outpouring of love. We, his family and friends are utterly devastated by his untimely and unexpected death and would appreciate the privacy to mourn in private.
Ric’s sons posted a drawing on social media, with a message to fans, reading: “From Ric’s sons: Our dad was a prolific doodler. His passing was sudden, unexpected, and beyond heartbreaking. Yesterday, we found this last doodle on his armchair. He couldn’t have known what it would end up meaning to us. We love him so much.”
His granddaughter, Olivia Ocasek, posted, “A shock is the least I can say — my dad, my uncles, my grandmothers, my cousins, the grandchildren (including myself) have lost someone who has left an enormous impact on those surrounding him — the greatest gift he ever gave me was his first child — my dad — the most incredible person known to man — he also blessed me with my incredible uncles who will forever be my male role models. What an influence on the world he had.”
Cars lead guitarist Elliot Easton said in a statement, “Thank you friends, for the overwhelming outpouring of emails, texts and posts of condolence and sympathy. I have read them all, and there are so many that I may not be able to respond to all of them, but please know that your reaching out at this incredibly difficult time has meant so much to me, and has been a comfort in our profoundly sad time of grief. The Cars are a family, for better or worse, and I lost my big brother yesterday.”
Keyboardist Greg Hawkes was the only member of the Cars to occasionally co-write material with Ric Ocasek — including the band’s 1979 classic, “Let’s Go.” Hawkes, who also went on to play keyboards and bass on some of Ocasek’s solo projects, told us that the fact that the Cars even happened in the first place still blows his mind: [“Just the music itself, y’know? The fact that it’s, like lasted this long, and occasionally. . . When you get the occasional person, who comes up to ya and says, ‘Oh yeah, y’know, I used to love the Cars!’ Y’know, people in other bands, sometimes, that’s neat, y’know, when you hear younger bands say, ‘Oh, I used to listen to the Cars and they influenced me,’ and stuff, that’s pretty cool.”] SOUNDCUE (:23 OC: . . . that’s pretty cool)
RIC OCASEK REMEMBERED
Alice Cooper: “RIP Ric Ocasek”
Paul Stanley: “RIP Ric Ocasek. A very sad loss. My condolences to his family.”
Peter Frampton: “So sad. Such a great writer, singer, player, producer. My thoughts are with his family. Rest in peace.”
Neal Schon: “I was reading and thinking about Ric Ocasek & Eddie Money just the other day passing and this came out R.I.P. Eddie & Ric our condolences to your families and friends God Bless.” RIP #RicOcasek”
Bryan Adams: “RIP Ric Ocasek. Great songwriter and singer for the Cars”
Billy Corgan: “Devastated to hear of the passing on this man, Ric Ocasek. It has brightened my spirit to see how many have posted about Ric, praising his originality, flair, and brilliance. I was blessed to have known him, through friendship and work (his solo album Troubilizing was one I produced).”
Weezer: “The whole Weezer family is devastated by the loss of our friend and mentor Ric Ocasek, who passed away Sunday. Ric meant so much to us. He produced three key Weezer albums, Blue, Green and 2014’s Everything (Will Be Alright in the End), and taught all of us so much about music, recording and songcraft. But more importantly he taught us that one can be in a respected position of great power and yet be absolutely humble and have the biggest sweetest heart in the industry.”
Beck: “sad news. much respect to the great ric ocasek.”
MTV’s Martha Quinn: “Ric Ocasek, The Cars set tone of #80s before 80s even started – Just What I Needed, Best Friend’s Girl, Good Times Roll. The Shake It Up and Heartbeat City lps brought motorcade of hits to our decade. Dad to 6 sons. Rock Hall of Famer. Thank u for it all Ric.”
The Go-Go’s Kathy Valentine: “I’m not processing the death of Ric Ocasek yet, can’t even read a story about it. I didn’t know him, but I think we all felt like we did kind of know him. He picked great musicians, had impeccable popular music instincts. A classic.”
Billy Idol: “Sorry 2 hear about #ricocasek RIP loved his work with the band #Suicide”
Duran Duran: “Who is gonna drive us home now? Ric the writer behind one of our favorite American bands of all time. We were truly saddened to hear of his passing.”
Flea: “Ahh man, say it ain’t so. I loved Ric Ocasek. What an interesting, smart, kind, funny man who made incredible records. I loved those Cars albums when I was a teenager. Perfect pop songs with those wicked elliot easton guitar solos. Absolute candy. Then he went and produced Rock For Light by the Bad Brains. As an adult I met him several times and he was gracious, funny and engaging. Ahh man. Ahh damn. Bless his soul. R.I.P. Transcend to the other side Ric. So much love and appreciation from me. You’re All I Got Tonight.”
The Scorpions: “RIP Ric Ocasek … we loved the Cars … Scorpions”
Thomas Dolby: “R.I.P. Ric Ocasek, lead singer with The Cars, at 75. A very cool cat. He was the first person to hear my album The Flat Earth from start to finish, in Mutt Lange’s house in Chelsea.”
Richard Marx: “Aw, man. RIP #ricocasek and thank you for the songs on ‘Heartbeat City’ alone. You were a true original.”
Dee Snider: “So sad to hear that we have lost another one. Ran into Ric on the streets of NYC last year and we had a nice chat. Just two guys/no fanfare. I’ll always remember it.”
Living Color’s Vernon Reid: “Awwwww Man….. Ric Ocasek was one of oddest, BEST Front Men EVER. The Cars! The TUNES! Ric Ocasek also showed Visionary taste in producing #BadBrains 2nd album Rock For Light. Am DEEPLY Bummed over this. Am a Cars FAN.”
The Killers: “Feeling grateful for Ric. Had the opportunity to send him this email a couple years back. My first king. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Judd Apatow: “I remembering listening to the first Cars record when I was ten with my mom and it was so much fun. Forty one years later it sounds like it was recorded yesterday. It created a new path and inspired so many great bands. He was a legend who brought us all a ton of joy.”
- The Cars‘ Ric Ocasek has been memorialized by the rock community and his family across social media.
- His estranged wife, former supermodel, Paulina Porizkova posted a message attributed to the Ocasek family which reveals that the 75-year-old rocker was at home, recovering from and unnamed surgery, and that his death was essentially completely unexpected.
- Ocasek died of heart disease, worsened by emphysema.