The Monkees’ Peter Tork Dead at 77

Peter Tork. Photo: Matthew Eisman/Getty Images

Peter Tork, an original member of one of the first-ever boy bands, the Monkees, died on Thursday at age 77, his reps confirmed on Facebook. Details of Tork’s death have not been announced, but the beloved bassist, keyboard player, and sometimes lead singer for the group was diagnosed with a rare form of tongue cancer in 2009, per the Washington Post; he subsequently underwent surgery and documented his recovery on Facebook.

In the wake of Beatlemania and the desire to capitalize on the burgeoning boy-band phenomenon, the Monkees were famously formed for a self-titled ’60s television series starring Tork, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, and Michael Nesmith as a band trying to make it big. All four members recorded six albums in two years together up until 1968’s Head (the soundtrack to the panned Jack Nicholson film that has since become a cult classic), after which Tork resigned from the band, citing exhaustion, and bought out the four remaining years on his contract.

The four members occasionally reunited throughout the ’80s and ’90s and, after Jones’s death in 2012, the three surviving members toured together. In 2016, they released a new album, Good Times!, to mark their 50th anniversary. Tork released his first and only solo album, Stranger Things Have Happened, in 1994, though he also recorded albums with James Lee Stanley and Tork’s own band, the Shoe Suede Blues. A statement to fans on Tork’s Facebook pages reads, “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.”

The Monkees’ Peter Tork Dead at 77