Feb. 21 (UPI) — Peter Tork, a bass player and keyboardist for the Monkees, died Thursday at age 77.
Tork’s sister, Anne Thorkelson, confirmed the musician’s death to The Washington Post, but did not say where or how the star died.
Tork was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer affecting his tongue, in March 2009. He subsequently underwent surgery and radiation treatments.
Tork’s official Facebook page, run by the musician’s friends, family and colleagues, confirmed his death in a post Thursday.
“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 post reads.
Tork was born Peter Thorkelson in Washington, D.C., in February 1942. He started playing piano, banjo acoustic bass and bass guitar in his childhood, and joined the folk music scene in the 1960s after moving to New York.
Tork landed a lead role alongside Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Davy Jones on the NBC sitcom “The Monkees,” which debuted in 1966. The show followed a fictional band, the Monkees, although the quartet performed and eventually recorded their own music.
“The Monkees,” which had a two-season run, catapulted Tork and his bandmates to fame. The group released its self-titled debut album in 1966, and gained greater control of the recording process following the release of “More of the Monkees” in 1967.
The Monkees sold millions of albums, released No. 1 hits, including “I’m a Believer,” and toured the country. Tork later pursued other projects, including the group “Peter Tork And/Or Release, although he reunited with the Monkees for reunion tours beginning in the 1980s.