Heart disease caused Cars' frontman Ric Ocasek's death

New York (AFP) –


The late Cars frontman Ric Ocasek died of heart disease, New York medical examiners said Monday.

Pulmonary emphysema was a contributing condition to the death resulting from hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, health officials said.

Police pronounced the visionary singer and rhythm guitarist dead at 75 years old on Sunday in his Manhattan townhouse.

Under the leadership of the lanky Ocasek, known for his dark mop of hair and rock-star sunglasses, The Cars brought the quirky electronic effects of new wave to classically structured, synthesizer-heavy pop songs, generating a string of hits such as "You Might Think," "Shake It Up," and "Drive" in the 1980s.

They were among the early regulars on MTV, winning the "Video of the Year" award for "You Might Think" at the first Video Music Awards in 1984.

The band found widespread appeal, satisfying punk rock gurus and poppier tastes alike with hook-savvy hits that unified art rock influences like Lou Reed and David Bowie with more modern new-wave melodicism.

In an Instagram post on Monday, his family said the late artist had been recuperating at home after surgery, and was found unresponsive when they brought him his morning coffee.

"We, his family and friends, are completely and utterly devastated by his untimely and unexpected death and would appreciate the privacy to mourn," read the message posted on The Cars official account.

A second post on the account featured Ocasek's final doodle, and a message from his sons Jonathan and Oliver.

"Our dad was a prolific doodler. His passing was sudden, unexpected, and beyond heartbreaking," they wrote.

"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."

The black and red abstract sketch included a note from Ocasek that read: "Keep on laughin'."

"It is what it is."