Peter Tork, the bassist and singer in The Monkees, died earlier today (February 21), it has been reported.
The musician was 77 years old. No cause of death has been given at present. Tork’s sister Annie Thorkelson confirmed the news to The Washington Post.
Tork was an original member of the ‘60s group, who formed in 1966, and appeared on the eponymous TV show that shot them to fame. He resigned in 1968, citing exhaustion, but rejoined the band in 1986 and at subsequent reunions over the years. He last performed under The Monkees name on the band’s 50th-anniversary tour in 2016.
Throughout the band’s career, he wrote several songs for them, including ‘For Pete’s Sake’ and ‘Can You Dig It?’ He released one solo album in 1994’s ‘Stranger Things Have Happened’, plus several other records with Shoe Suede Blues and folk singer James Lee Stanley. He released his last album, ‘Relax Your Mind’, last year.
In 2009, Tork was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer that affects the tongue. However, he made a full recovery and continued touring and releasing music.
A post on the musician’s official Facebook page also confirmed the news of his death. “It is with beyond-heavy and broken hearts that we share the devastating news that our friend, mentor, teacher, and amazing soul, Peter Tork, has passed from this world,” it read.
It is with beyond-heavy and broken hearts that we share the devastating news that our friend, mentor, teacher, and…
“Please know that Peter was extremely appreciative of you, his Torkees, and one of his deepest joys was to be out in front of you, playing his music, and seeing you enjoy what he had to share. We send blessings and thoughts of comfort to you all, with much gratitude.”
Tributes to Tork have begun to be paid on social media following the news of his death. The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson tweeted: “I’m sad to hear about Peter Tork passing. I thought The Monkees were great and Peter will be missed. Love & mercy to Peter’s family, friends and fans.”
“Oh no RIP Peter Tork. Thank U for giving me your love beads (it was the 60s!) when I was a little girl,” wrote songwriter Diane Warren. Read those and more tributes below.
I’m sad to hear about Peter Tork passing. I thought The Monkees were great and Peter will be missed. Love & mercy to Peter’s family, friends and fans. pic.twitter.com/NquzjTmtFx
— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilsonLive) February 21, 2019
Oh no RIP Peter Tork. Thank U for giving me your love beads (it was the 60s!) when I was a little girl.
— Diane Warren (@Diane_Warren) February 21, 2019
R.I.P. Peter Tork https://t.co/7MupqRioKa
— Carole King (@Carole_King) February 21, 2019
RIP Peter Tork. The Monkees were a band that I went from loving their TV show which was often repeated on BBC during school holidays, discovering some classic tunes with amazing melodies and finally introducing me to psychedelia with the movie Head (still a mind-bender)
— Dr Mantis Toboggan M.D. ??????? ?? (@DazzlingHamster) February 21, 2019
Very sad day. The Monkees helped me get through a lot of tough times. RIP Peter Tork. https://t.co/ps5aE4QrPZ
— John Kuperman (@JohnKuperman) February 21, 2019
Goodnight, Mr. Tork, and thanks for all the incredibly silly fun, time well-spent in my youth.https://t.co/9720dpeK6M
— Belladonna Nightshade (@MsInformation) February 21, 2019
He was always my favourite Monkee. Goodbye Peter Tork, and thank you. pic.twitter.com/bGrasBB7vb
— Di (@RedJed7) February 21, 2019
— Whisper (@chico_apache) February 21, 2019