Joseph Brooks, the Oscar-winning songwriter awaiting trial on sex crime charges, was found dead Sunday of an apparent suicide in his New York City apartment, police say. The 'You Light Up My Life' songwriter, 73, pleaded not guilty to rape, sexual abuse and other charges in 2009.

A police spokesman told reporters that at around 12:30 p.m., a friend found Brooks at his home with a plastic dry-cleaning bag around his head and a towel wrapped around his neck. A helium tank was nearby with a tube connecting it with the bag.

The friend, whose name has not been released, was at the Upper East Side apartment because the two had planned a lunch. The rep, Paul Browne, said an autopsy must be conducted before a cause of death can be determined.