Peter Tork, singer and bassist for 1960s American rock band The Monkees has died aged 77.
Tork was diagnosed with a rare form of tongue cancer in 2009 but made a full recovery three years later. The exact cause of his death has not yet been confirmed.
“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,” a statement on the musician’s official Facebook page read.
“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,” it said.
Tork was last seen performing with The Monkees in 2016.
The musician made a statement to Rolling Stone last year after being questioned about why he no longer was seen participating in the band.
“I have in general made no secret of the fact that all these recent years of Monkees-related projects, as fun as they’ve been, have taken up a lot of my time and energy,” he said.
“Moving forward, I have blues projects that I want to give my attention to ... I’m shifting gears for now, but I wish the boys well, and I’ve learned to never say never on things further down the line.”
The Monkees shot to fame in the 1960s with hit songs such as Daydream Believer, Last Train to Clarksville, Pleasant Vally Sunday and I’m A Believer.
Tork played keyboards as well as bass guitar in the band alongside Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and the late English singer Davy Jones.
The rock and pop group formed in Los Angeles in 1965 and starred in its own TV series The Monkees, which ran from 1966 to 1968.
Tork was cast as the quirky, introverted member of the group and was a firm favourite with many female fans.
Tributes from around the world began flowing immediately after the announcement of his passing.
Dolenz tweeted that he was “heartbroken” at the news of Tork’s death.
— Micky Dolenz (@TheMickyDolenz1) February 21, 2019
Nesmith posted a tribute on Facebook, thanking is former bandmate for “always being you”.
Our hearts are completely broken. Rest well, Peter Tork. Thank you for always, always being you xo
Beach Boys frontman 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.”
American singer Carole King added: “R.I.P. Peter Tork.”
Tork was born Peter Halsten Thorkelson in Washington DC on February 13 in 1942. His mother was a homemaker and his father was an economics professor.
The Monkees was initially a “made-for-TV-band” that became a worldwide phenomenon.
The TV show series chronicled the humorous and surreal misadventures of a struggling rock band, often described as a “manufactured version of the Beatles”.
Hey Hey, it’s The Monkees!