The Monkees’ Peter Tork Dead at 77

Tork played a variety of instruments, including guitar, bass guitar, banjo and keyboards.

Peter Tork Dead
Micky Dolenz (left) and Peter Tork (right) of The Monkees perform in concert on October 28, 2016. (Donald Kravitz/Getty Images)
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Peter Tork of the classic rock quartet The Monkees died on Thursday. He was 77.

Tork’s passing was announced to the public through his official Facebook page, NPR reported.

“Peter succumbed to a 10 year bout with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer of the salivary glands,” it read.

Tork was born Peter Halsten Thorkelson in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 13, 1942. He played a variety of instruments, including guitar, bass guitar, banjo and keyboards.

Tork’s fun-loving band, The Monkees, were a made-for-TV musical group whose misadventures on their 2-year-long show were inspired by the Beatles’ classic films A Hard Day’s Night and Help! The series won an Emmy in 1967 for outstanding comedy series. The Monkees’ record sales surpassed that of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones combined that year.

“This is not a band,” Tork once told the Telegraph. “It’s an entertainment operation whose function is Monkee music. It took me a while to get to grips with that but what great music it turned out to be! And what a wild and wonderful trip it has taken us on!”

Tork and the group had a number of  No. 1 hits like “Last Train to Clarksville,” “Daydream Believer” and “I’m a Believer,” but he set out to pursue a solo career in 1968.

He struggled on his own throughout the 1970s, according to NPR, and faced alcoholism while waiting tables and teaching high school to make ends meet. But the band reunited for reunion tours each decade since the 1980s.

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