(Recasts with police confirmation, adds background)
Sept 15 (Reuters) - Ric Ocasek, the idiosyncratic lead singer and chief songwriter of the 1980s hook-heavy hitmakers The Cars, died on Sunday at the age of 75, New York police said.
Ocasek was pronounced dead at his Manhattan townhouse after a family called to report that he was unresponsive at around 4 p.m. EDT, a New York Police Department spokesman said.
The cause of death will be determined by the city's coroner.
Ocasek, born Richard Theodore Otcasek in Baltimore in 1944, met bass player and future bandmate Benjamin Orr after moving to Cleveland for high school. The pair formed the Cars in mid-1970s Boston.
The band's self-titled debut album, featuring the singles "Just What I Needed," "My Best Friend's Girl" and "Good Times Roll", reached Number 18 on the Billboard album charts.
The Cars scored their first top-20 single, "Let's Go," in 1979 and proceeded to launch a succession of hits throughout the 1980s before breaking up in 1988, followed by Orr's death from pancreatic cancer in 2000.
The band reunited for a final album, "Move Like This," in 2010. (Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Sandra Maler)
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