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Ric Ocasek's widow remembers him as incredibly gentle, reveals his final hours before his death

News 08/10/2019

Ric Ocasek's widow, Paulina Porizkova has recently opened up about their life together, detailing his last day.

She spoke to Rolling Stone, just three weeks after the Cars singer passed away, saying, "His death was not at all related to his heart or his surgery, which was two weeks earlier. I don't know how much I want to say about the surgery, but it was successful." She confirmed that he was recuperating well.

Despite the 2017 separation, Porizkova said that the surgery brought the couple and their two sons closer together.

"In the weirdest of ways, the surgery was a blessing," she said. 'We had two weeks of just the four of us watching our favourite TV shows and me cooking or ordering in and hanging out. In this cloud of awfulness, that was a silver lining," she reminisced.

On Ocasek's final night before his death, their youngest son, Oliver, was looking after his father. Porizkova stopped by with some cookies, but Ocasek told her he planned to save them for the next day because he had already eaten "terrible cookies" and he was feeling a little unwell.

And that was the last time I saw him alive

When she came back to check on him in the morning, she went on to do some chores, thinking he was still asleep. But she felt "something wasn't right" at around 11 AM, so she went to the bedroom and found him in the exact same position.

"And at that point, I knew, but I couldn't believe it," she said. "I walked up to him and he still looked asleep. Except he was really, really still and his eyes were a little bit open. I thought he was waking up, actually. I was about to wave my hand in front of his face and go, 'Hey, I brought you coffee.' But I touched his cheek and it was like touching marble. That was pretty fucking awful."

Ric Ocasek, Jonathan Ocasek, and Oliver Ocasek attend the world premiere of Netflix's ROLLING THUNDER REVUE: A BOB DYLAN STORY BY MARTIN SCORSESE at Alice Tully Hall on June 10, 2019 in New York City.
Ric Ocasek and his sons, Jonathan, and Oliver in June 2019.

Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

She didn't call 911 immediately so that her and her sons could grief and spend a few hours holding hands around the bed. Two minutes after placing the 911 call, paparazzi showed up at their house. "That's just disgusting," she said.

She also criticised the medical examiner for disclosing some of Ocasek's health problems like emphysema and atrial fibrillation. She firmly said that those were "very moderate and manageable" and that Ocasek did not have high blood pressure.

"I don’t exactly understand the postmortem, and I’m so super bummed and pissed off that stuff like this is public knowledge. Thanks — so while we grieve, why don’t you all take apart what my husband died of?" she noted.

Remembering his "incredible gentleness" and work ethic, Porizkova often found him continuously writing in his studio whenever he's home. "I always said Ric looked like an upside-down exclamation mark," she said. "A lot of people found that really forbidding and found him intimidating, which he could very much be. As a person, he could be very aloof and sort of withdrawn. You could be intimidated by his height, thinness, black-clad persona, sunglasses, and all that."

But he had an incredible gentleness about him when you got to know him.

She found Cars music amusing when people sing 'Let the Good Times Roll' unironically. "Did they pay attention to the lyrics? Do you know what you're singing?" she asked. Porizkova explained that the lyrics were not "cheerful" despite having the "element and the pop and the simplicity and musicality of Buddy Holly", who was one of Ric's heroes. 

"... lyrically, Ric was much starker. He was the guy who liked sweet and dark," she said.

"I can't help but to be incredibly grateful," Porizkova concluded. "How many people get to pass like that? One of our friends said, “You get to pick your life, and you’re told you get to struggle and then become incredibly successful and influential and meet the woman who adores you and be with her for 30 some years and have a bunch of kids and die in your sleep.” Who wouldn’t volunteer for that one? Who would say no? He was a really, really lucky man."