The Cars Frontman Ric Ocasek's Cause of Death Revealed to Be Cardiovascular Disease

Karen Mizoguchi

Ric Ocasek died of natural causes. He was 75.

One day after The Cars frontman died on Sept. 15, the New York City medical examiner’s office released his autopsy. Ocasek died of hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, also known as atherosclerosis, which is a plaque build-up in the arteries and can cause hardening and/or narrowing in the heart muscle.

Pulmonary emphysema, which causes a decrease in respiratory function and breathlessness, was listed as a contributing factor.

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In a note posted to Instagram on Monday afternoon, Ocasek’s former wife, fashion model Paulina Porizkova, revealed she had found him unconscious and unresponsive in the Manhattan townhouse they had shared as a couple.

“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,” the mom of two said in a separate post on Monday.

“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 said.

“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,” Porizkova concluded.

Porizkova also thanked fans and followers on social media by posting a photo of flowers and candles left by fans outside their home. “Thank you,” she wrote.

Ocasek co-founded The Cars in 1976 and became titans of rock’s New Wave genre, scoring 13 Top 40 hits including “My Best Friend’s Girl,” “Just What I Needed,” “Shake It Up” and “Drive.”

The group disbanded in 1988 but reunited in 2010, delivering the album Move Like This the following year. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.

Ocasek is survived by his six kids, including sons Jonathan and Oliver, whom he shared with Porizkova, and Christopher, Adam, Eron and Derek Otcasek, from previous relationships.

The musician and Porizkova were not legally divorced prior to his death.