Joseph Brooks, the 73-year-old Academy Award-winner and alleged serial rapist who killed himself yesterday, insisted on his innocence until the end, reportedly using his "rambling" three page suicide note to boast how he would have gotten off and blame his choice to take his life on failing health and financial troubles. "He was facing serious charges and had nothing to live for. I'd have done the same thing," a neighbor told the News.

According to a law enforcement source, Brooks said in his note he would have been exonerated of charges of rape (he was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday for a pretrial hearing on charges of raping or molesting at least 13 actress wannabes) and instead attributed his decision to take his life on his failing health (he had suffered a stroke in 2008 and possibly had a second a few months ago) and on an ex-fiance who he claimed jilted him of millions before revealing she was already married. His diminishing health was probably a large factor, as another neighbor put it "I saw him yesterday—he looked like walking death...like a skeleton." A worker at a nearby restaurant he frequented said he could barely even eat toast anymore.

Unmentioned in the note? His son Nicholas Brooks, who is currently awaiting trial for allegedly murdering his girlfriend the designer Sylvie Cachey. Which probably isn't surprising, as Brooks had a notoriously tempestuous relationship with his children. Describing him in a New York profile, Brooks' estranged daughter Amanda said "My father is a bully and very scary and very intimidating."

The elder Brooks was also in deep financial trouble. In 2006 the songwriter had borrowed $2.4 million from former Morgan Stanley honcho Frederick Whittemore, putting his apartment up as collateral. In a suit filed in court on May 10, Whittemore threatened to take the apartment unless he was paid.

Meanwhile, despite the charges against him, Brooks continued to see a steady stream of call girls until his second stroke. "I'd see beautiful women leaving his apartment and say, 'I'm better looking than him!'" a neighbor said. Which isn't so surprising when you read some of the accounts of his dealings with the never-young-enough string of prostitutes provided to him for a long time by madam Kristin Davis. “I would ban him and then he would come back and beg, he would apologize for his bad behavior, and say ‘it will never happen again.’ I’d give him another chance and he’d be OK for two or three appointments and then it would go bad,” Davis said.

In particular Brooks—who wrote jingles for the likes of Dr. Pepper before reaching fame with the song and movie "You Light Up My Life"—was interested in role-playing casting couch scenarios in which he was a director who would seduce young actresses by plying them with drugged wine—exactly the MO he was accused of using before raping actual young actresses he found via Craigslist.

Brooks was found in his 15th-floor apartment yesterday by one of his few remaining friends who he was supposed to meet for lunch. His head was encased in a dry-cleaning bag with a tube attached to a helium gas tank nearby and a towel sealing the bag around his neck.

It is unclear what plans there are for a funeral as he wasn't exactly a popular man in his final days (as Kristin Davis put it to the Daily Beast, "I can't say he had any redeeming qualities at all.") but if there is one, the lawyers for the Cachey family say that they would agree to let Nicholas Brooks out to attend it. "Even though he comes from a messed-up family, it's still his biological father," she said.