Born Peter Halsten Thorkelson, he had a long career in show business, both in The Monkees and later as a solo artist and an actor.
The Monkees were a made-for-TV band, and their eponymous show aired on NBC from 1966 to 1968. They went to have success as a recording band through 1971, and later staged popular reunion tours and debuted new records.
Tork was involved in the band from their inception but left in 1969. In addition to his role as singer, guitarist, and bassist, he also wrote or co-wrote several songs for the band. He was known for his fun-loving and goofy stage persona.
His death was confirmed in a statement from his family on the musician’s official Facebook fan page:
“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,” the statement read in part.
His Monkee bandmates also took to social media to mourn the loss of their friend.
— Micky Dolenz (@TheMickyDolenz1) February 21, 2019
“There are no words right now…heartbroken over the loss of my Monkee brother, Peter Tork. #petertork #themonkees @TorkTweet,” Monkees founding member Mickey Dolenz wrote in a tweet alongside a photo of the late Tork.
Guitarist Michael Nesmith also expressed his grief over the sad news on Facebook:
“Peter Tork died this AM,” he wrote in part. “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.”
Nesmith went on to say that Tork’s legacy will live on in his music.
“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,” he concluded his post.
We’re sending our deepest condolences to all of Tork’s loved ones during this difficult time.