Grammy-Winning Songwriter Awaiting Rape Trial Kills Self in NYC

Grammy, Oscar winner Joseph Brooks faced 90 counts of rape, other charges

Monday, May 23, 2011  |  Updated 5:30 PM CDT
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The New York City medical examiner's office has ruled that the death of Academy Award-winning songwriter Joseph Brooks was suicide and that the cause of the death was asphyxiation.

Brooks, who wrote and won a Grammy for the 1977 ballad "You Light Up My Life," and an Oscar for a movie of the same name, was awaiting trial on rape charges.

The 73-year-old was discovered in his apartment Sunday by a friend with whom he was supposed to meet for lunch. Police said a plastic dry-cleaning bag was wrapped around his head, a towel wrapped around his neck. A hose was attached to the bag and a small tank of helium nearby.

Police said Brooks left behind a rambling, three-page suicide note that included complaints about his health. Brooks suffered a stroke in 2008.

He was arrested in 2009 on charges of molesting women lured to his apartment for supposed acting auditions. He pleaded not guilty to rape and other charges.

Accusations against Brooks first came out in 2009. In January of this year, 13 more women said Brooks had assaulted them.

Brooks' 25-year-old son, Nicholas Brooks, was charged earlier this year in the December 9 murder of swimsuit designer Sylvie Cachay. 

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