Peter Tork of The Monkees dead at 77

1960s pop/rock band the Monkees, Photo Date: 1966
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(Gray News) Peter Tork of The Monkees, the made-for-TV pop group from the 1960s, died Thursday. He was 77.

"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," This Facebook account said. "We ask for your kindness and understanding in allowing us to grieve this huge loss privately."

HIs cause of death wasn't immediately known, but Tork was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer affecting his tongue, in 2009.

The Monkees debuted on NBC in the fall of 1966 and were an immediate success both on TV and on the music charts. The group's first single "Last Train to Clarksville," had become a number one hit a few weeks earlier.

Although often dismissed as the "pre-Fab Four," because The Monkees were the creatiion of TV executives, Tork and Michael Nesmith had solid performing and recording experience before joining the band, AllMusic.com reported. Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones were primarily actors but had also dabbled in pop music and had strong vocal abilities.

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