Songwriter Joseph Brooks, 73, an apparent suicide

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Joseph Brooks

Joseph Brooks

Oscar-winning songwriter Joseph Brooks, who composed the hit “You Light Up My Life,” was found dead Sunday in his New York apartment. Brooks, 73, apparently killed himself, police said.

His body was found at about 12:30 p.m. at his apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side by a friend with whom he had planned to have lunch, according to police.

In the 1991 Simpsons episode I Married Marge, his iconic tune was performed by Debby Boone, Dan Castellaneta and Julie Kavner. Brooks won his 1977 Academy Award for composing the Boone ballad, which was featured in the film of the same name. Brooks wrote and directed the movie as well.

At the time of his death, Brooks was awaiting trial following a 2009 not-guilty plea to charges that he raped and sexually abused at least 11 women.

The Manhattan district attorney charges that Brooks duped would-be actresses into coming to his apartment in the belief that they were auditioning for a role. Often, the women responded to a notice that Brooks had posted on Craigslist and flew to New York from across the United States at Brooks’ expense, the district attorney’s account said.

Police said Sunday that a plastic bag was wrapped around Brooks’ head. As well, police stated, a helium tank with a hose attachment was found at the scene and may have been used in the apparent suicide.

Although they said they found a suicide note, they would not discuss its contents. An official autopsy will be done on the body.

Last December, Brooks’ son Nicholas was charged with second-degree murder after former girlfriend Sylvie Cachay, a 33-year-old swimwear designer, was found dead in a bathtub at an upscale New York hotel. He has pleaded not guilty.

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