Joseph Brooks, the Academy Award-winning songwriter of "You Light Up My Life" who was awaiting trial for rape, was found dead today of an apparent suicide in his Manhattan apartment, police said. Brooks, 73, was discovered in his Upper East Side apartment around 12:30pm by a friend with whom he had planned to have lunch. He had a plastic dry-cleaning bag around his head and a towel wrapped around his neck. A hose attached to a helium tank was hooked up to the bag.
Police said a suicide note was found but they didn't reveal its contents. Brooks was awaiting trial on allegations that he molested women who were lured to his apartment for supposed acting auditions. He pleaded not guilty to rape and other charges. Brooks' son, Nicholas, has also been charged in a high-profile criminal case in New York: the murder of his girlfriend, Peruvian-American swimsuit designer Sylvie Cachay, who was found dead in an overflowing bathtub at the swank Soho House club and hotel in December. Click for more on Joseph and Nicholas Brooks' alleged crimes. (Read more Nicholas Brooks stories.)