Peter Tork of the Monkees dies aged 77


Peter Tork, who found fame in the 1960s as a member of hit group the Monkees, has died.

The cause of the 77-year-old's death hasn't yet been revealed.

Tork joined the group when he was 24. He and Mike Nesmith were the only two experienced musicians in the group when it was formed in 1966 for a hit TV show, pitched as an American take on the Beatles' A Hard Day's Night.

Music magazine Rolling Stone said while the "affable" bassist played a "loveable dimwit" on the show, in reality he was an accomplished songwriter and musician.

While the Monkees' music was initially written and recorded by outsiders, over time Tork and guitarist Nesmith took control - culminating in 1968's psychedelic and non-commercial Head album and film, which Variety reports "baffled fans" used to their radio-friendly pop music, like 'Daydream Believer'.

The band reunited a number of times after their 1971 split, and even put out new albums in 2016 and 2018, despite founding member Davy Jones' death in 2012.

Tork married four times, and had a daughter in 1997.  He was diagnosed with tongue cancer in 2009, but made a full recovery.

He is survived by Nesmith (76) and Monkees drummer Mickey Dolenz (73), who will be touring New Zealand in June.