“Ric was recuperating very well after surgery,” the Ocasek family wrote on Instagram. “Our two sons, 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.”
The Ocaseks added that they “appreciate the great outpouring of love” they’ve received following the singer-songwriter’s death on Sunday in his New York apartment. “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.”
Ocasek’s sons also shared a charming illustration their father did before his death, noting that Ocasek was “a prolific doodler.” The drawing features an abstract figure as well as several phrases that have an added poignancy in the wake of Ocasek’s death: “Never forget that look,” “Keep on laughin’” and “It is what it is.”
In the caption, Ocasek’s sons wrote: “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.”
Police officers responded to a 911 call at Ocasek’s Manhattan home at approximately 3 p.m. ET on Sunday and found the New Wave icon unconscious and unresponsive. He was later pronounced dead at the scene, though a cause of death has yet to be revealed. He was 75.
Following his death, many of Ocasek’s friends, collaborators and admirers expressed their reverence for his songwriting and personal charm.
“Feeling grateful for Ric,” the Killers’ Brandon Flowers tweeted. “Had the opportunity to send him this email a couple years back. My first king. Thank you, thank you, thank you.” Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan, who co-produced Ocasek’s 1997 solo LP, Troublizing, wrote that he was “devastated” to hear the news. “It has brightened my spirit to see how many have posted about Ric, praising his originality, flair, and brilliance,” he said on Instagram. “I was blessed to have known him, through friendship and work.”
Weezer — who worked with Ocasek on three of their records, including their 1994 self-titled debut, “The Blue Album” — wrote, “[He] 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.”