'Heartbroken': Monkees bandmates respond to death of Peter Tork

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/ Source: TODAY
By Gina Vivinetto

Peter Tork, the lovably goofy musician and actor who rose to fame on the 1960s NBC sitcom "The Monkees," died Thursday. He was 77.

Tork's passing was announced in a statement on his official Facebook page. The entertainer succumbed to a 10-year bout with a rare form of tongue cancer, his family said.

Peter Tork performing live in New York City in 2016. The entertainer died Thursday at age 77.Getty Images

"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," the statement read.

Tork was a respected singer-songwriter on the 1960s Greenwich Village folk scene when he auditioned for "The Monkees," a sitcom about a band of hippie musicians who lived together and got into madcap hijinks.

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Peter Tork, left, back row, poses with his "Monkees" co-stars Mike Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones. The NBC sitcom aired from 1966 until 1968.Michael Ochs Archives

He played a sweetly daffy version of himself on the show, which was inspired by the success of The Beatles — and wrote or co-wrote many of the band's songs.

Though The Monkees were a made-for-TV band, the quartet scored several pop hits, including "Daydream Believer," "Pleasant Valley Sunday" and "Last Train to Clarksville." The band continued recording albums together for several years after "The Monkees" went off the air in 1968.

Peter Tork, right, and co-star Micky Dolenz.NBC / Getty Images

Tork's two surviving "Monkees" co-stars, Micky Dolenz and Mike Nesmith — Davy Jones passed away in 2012 — responded to his death on Thursday.

"There are no words right now ... heart broken over the loss of my Monkee brother, Peter Tork," Dolenz tweeted.

Nesmith shared his grief on Facebook.

"Peter Tork died this AM. I am told he slipped away peacefully," Nesmith wrote in part. "Yet, as I write this my tears are awash, and my heart is broken. Even though I am clinging to the idea that we all continue, the pain that attends these passings has no cure. It's going to be a rough day."

As news of Tork's death spread, more celebrities shared their appreciation for the late star.

"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," The Beach Boys' Brian Wilson wrote.

Susanna Hoffs, singer and guitarist for The Bangles, shared a brokenhearted emoji, writing, "peace and love Peter Tork."

Former "Brady Bunch" star Maureen McCormick wrote, "Heartbroken to hear of the passing of the sweet Peter Tork. ... His music has brought such joy into this world and will live on forever."

Legendary songwriter Carole King, who co-wrote "Pleasant Valley Sunday" among other Monkees songs, also saluted the late musician, tweeting, "R.I.P. Peter Tork."

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