Ben Orr has died of pancreatic cancer...

Benjamin Orr, bassist and vocalist with THE CARS, has died of cancer in the US, aged 53.

Orr, born Benjamin Orzechowski, died of pancreatic cancer on Tuesday night (October 3) at his Atlanta home, surrounded by friends. Orr originally visited the Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta last May after a growth was discovered on his pancreas.

Born in Cleveland, he formed the nucleus of the The Cars in Boston in the mid-’70s with guitarist and fellow vocalist Ric Ocasek. The pair had collaborated for a number of years before recruiting fellow band members Greg Hawke, Elliot Easton and David Robinson, and became one of the most respected and successful US new wave bands of the late ’70s.

Orr sang on some of the band’s most famous songs, including ‘Just What I Needed’ and ‘Drive’, before The Cars disbanded in early 1988.

A spokesperson for ex-band member Ocasek told US website that he is “devastated by the loss of a close friend”.

Recently, Orr had been playing with a new band, Big People. One of the band members in Big People, Jeff Carlisi, told that “Ben kept rocking”. He continued: “From the time he was diagnosed, he told us he wanted to keep playing until the end. He said, ‘If I fall down one day and can’t get up, you’ll know its over.'”

It is expected Orr will be cremated in Atlanta within the next few weeks.