Oscar-winning songwriter Joseph Brooks, famous for writing "You Light Up My Life," who has been awaiting trial on sex assault charges for two rapes, a sodomy case and two sexual assaults has committed suicide, reports the Associated Press.
The wire service reports that he was found in his Manhattan apartment and that "Police say Brooks was found Sunday with a plastic dry-cleaning bag around his head and a towel wrapped around his neck. There also was a helium tank with a hose attached. An autopsy will determine the cause of death. Police say a suicide note was found but they didn't reveal its contents."
Brooks, 71, allegedly seduced the women through Craigslist web postings and lured them to his upper East Side apartment with with promises of parts in his next movie. He purportedly boasted about his Oscar and offered to show it to them at his pad.
Brooks was the man behind the 2005 Broadway musical IN MY LIFE. The original book musical flopped, running 23 previews and 61 regular performances. In addition to writing the music, lyrics and book for IN MY LIFE, Brooks also directed the Broadway production. IN MY LIFE told how "a musician with Tourette's syndrome and a journalist with obsessive compulsive disorder meet cute at a grocery store-with some help from above- and begin an unlikely romance that proves that life's greatest affliction is the one they share-true love," as production notes described the show.
Brooks' "You Light Up My Life" is the most successful single record in the history of recorded music, selling more than seven million copies and staying at number one in the county for more than three months; total record sales of albums and singles of the song exceed 15 million. It received the Academy Award for Best Song when it was featured in the film of the same name (also written, produced and directed by Brooks), as well as winning the Grammy, Golden Globe, American Music, and People's Choice awards. In addition, Brooks has garnered numerous platinum and gold albums and singles, 21 Clio Awards (advertising's highest honor), the Golden Palm Award given at The Cannes Film Festival; 75 other advertising awards (he is a preeminent composer/lyricist and producer in the industry), and multiple ASCAP awards for pop and country music. Having conducted the New York Philharmonic, The London Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic orchestras, Brooks also composed the music and co-wrote the lyrics for Metropolis: The Musical, which was staged at London's Picadilly Theatre.