In 1968, he became the first member of The Monkees to bid the band adieu. Now, at the age of 77, Peter Tork has become the second member of the band to whom we must bid farewell.
Per The New York Times, Tork’s death was confirmed by his son, Ivan Iannoli, who said the cause was complications of a rare form of cancer that was first diagnosed in 2009, but a more emotional confirmation – one that we can all surely appreciate – came via a post on Tork’s official Facebook page:
“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.”
Only a few minutes before posting this piece, however, an additional statement was released by the Thorkelson family, one which we feel obliged to post here as well:
“We are all saddened to share the news that Peter Thorkelson -- friend, father, husband, grandfather, philosopher, goofball, entertainer -- died peacefully this morning at a family home in Connecticut. Peter succumbed to a 10 year bout with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer of the salivary glands. Peter’s energy, intelligence, silliness, and curiosity were traits that for decades brought laughter and enjoyment to millions, including those of us closest to him. Those traits also equipped him well to take on cancer, a condition he met with unwavering humor and courage.
“We are all still raw, and still have much to process, but we are also feeling appreciation for Peter’s contributions. We are grateful that we have an extended support network thanks to the attentive energy and dedication of Peter’s fans worldwide. We want those fans to know with absolute certainty that your spirit and goodwill fed Peter with continued energy and force (and of course humor).
“With that, we ask that our family have time and space to grieve in privacy.
“We are asking fans who would like to make contributions in Peter’s name to donate to the scholarship fund at The Institute for The Musical Arts in Massachusetts, a nonprofit that provides young women with music education, music recording, and music community. More info can be found here.”
“All of us at Rhino are devastated to hear the sad news of Peter Tork’s passing. Peter was truly a part of the Rhino family and we had the privilege of collaborating with him on dozens of Monkees albums and tours for the last three decades. His talent, charm, and humor were undeniable and he had the rare privilege of bringing joy and music to multiple generations. From his early days in Greenwich Village, to the heights of Monkeemania, to his Shoe Suede Blues band, Peter enjoyed a rich life as an incredibly gifted musician and songwriter. He has left us with a plethora of amazing songs and memories that will be endlessly remembered. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and fans around the world.”
- Mark Pinkus, President, Rhino Entertainment
“Pardon me if I am being dogmatic -- but I think it is harder to put together a band than a TV show -- not to take anything away from TV shows. These days I watch MSNBC -- mostly aghast at what I see -- and what I am missing is ‘madcap.’ Peter Tork died this AM. I am told he slipped away peacefully. 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. I share with all Monkees fans this change, this ‘loss,’ even so. PT will be a part of me forever. I have said this before -- and now it seems even more apt -- the reason we called it a band is because it was where we all went to play. A band no more -- and yet the music plays on -- an anthem to all who made the Monkees and the TV show our private -- dare I say ‘secret’ -- playground. As for Pete, I can only pray his songs reach the heights that can lift us and that our childhood lives forever -- that special sparkle that was the Monkees. I will miss him -- a brother in arms. Take flight, my Brother.”
– Michael Nesmith
There are no words right now...heart broken over the loss of my Monkee brother, Peter Tork.
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.
Oh no RIP Peter Tork. Thank U for giving me your love beads (it was the 60s!) when I was a little girl.
R.I.P. Peter Tork
Peace and love Peter Tork...
Michael Des Barres:
Peter Tork was a tremendous musician. He had a natural ability that for me was the soul of @TheMonkees Truly an Americana aficionado as well as a member of the beloved rock band. Their origins irrelevant. Their musical output fun & eternal. RIP
Ahh.. RIP Peter Tork- my favourite monkee
Monkees bassist and singer Peter Tork dies at 77 - Our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and fans around the world.