Peter Tork Dies; The Monkees Guitarist was 77

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Peter Tork was the wise-cracking guitarist for the 1960s teen-pop sensation, The Monkees.

Sadly, he has now passed away.

Tork was 77 years old.

Peter Tork Picture

The Washington Post reports that Peter Tork passed away on Thursday, February 21.

Tork's sister, Anne Thorkelson, did not specify her brother's cause of death.

However, the guitarist was diagnosed with adenoic cystic carcenoma, a rare form of cancer, in early 2009.

Tork had received extensive treatment, using both surgery and radiation, in 2009 to combat the slow-growing head and neck cancer.

It is unclear what role that serious heatlh crisis may have played in his death 10 years later.

Peter Tork

Tork's friends, family, and colleagues released a statement on his official Facebook page.

"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"

"Please know that Peter was extremely appreciative of you, his Torkees."

Peter Tork Throwback

After being recommended by a man who failed his audition, Peter Tork auditioned for The Monkees.

He joined the pop-rock group called The Monkees, a then-fictional band created for the eponymous sitcom.

Though Tork was an accomplished musician, he and the band's other three members did very little with instruments in their early albums.

Over time, he would play the bass guitar, keyboards, harpsichord, and banjo during the band's recordings.

His character on the television series was a "lovable dummy," a role that endures across multiple genres because it is so endearing to audiences.

The Monkees

The Monkees, the television sitcom, ran from 1966 to 1968.

The band by the same name, however, played from 1966 to 1971.

As a group, they produced six albums, four of which went to Number 1 on the Billboard chart.

Peter Tork did leave the band before it was officially disbanded.

Though the group had hoped to perform more together, ultimately they had musical differences.

Tork also said that the filming schedule, and the way that it cut down on his time to actually work on music, exhausted him.

Peter Tork Image

Despite the band officially disbanding in the early 1970s, the group has held multiple reunions and reunion tours.

With the The Monkees playing in syndication, they found reborn cultural relevance in the Twenty-First Century.

Tork made his last appearance with the band in 2016 as they played at the Pantages in Hollywood.

Without him, the two surviving members of the band, Nesmith and Dolenz, went on the road as a duo in 2018.

At the time, they were vague about Tork's personal reasons for not traveling with them.

Peter Tork Photo

Tork released a statement to Rolling Stone to explain his distance from his former bandmates.

"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," Tork began.

He continued: "have taken up a lot of my time and energy."

"Moving forward, I have blues projects that I want to give my attention to...I’m shifting gears for now," he admitted.

"But I wish the boys well," Tork concluded. "And I’ve learned to never say never on things further down the line."

Countless fans are heartbroken over the passing of Peter Tork.

His cultural impact spanned generations -- and so did his career.

We will keep his loved ones in our thoughts during this difficult time.

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