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Peter Tork, The Monkees Bassist, Cause of Death Revealed by Family

The family of The Monkees' Peter Tork issued a long statement on Thursday, confirming his cause of death. Tork died Thursday after a 10-year battle with a rare cancer at age 77.

In the statement, the family shared on Facebook that Tork "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," the family's statement continued. "Those traits also equipped him well to take on cancer, a condition he met with unwavering humor and courage."
Tork's family continued on to ask for privacy.

"We are all still raw, and still have much to process, but we are also feeling appreciation for Peter’s contributions," the statement continued. "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)."

The family asked fans to make a donation to The Institute for The Musical Arts in Massachusetts in Tork's name. The non-profit helps young women with music education and recording.

Tork's sister, Anne Thorkelson, confirmed his death to The Washington Post on Thursday. That same day, the surviving Monkees — Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz — both shared their memories of Tork on their social media pages.

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

"[Peter Tork] 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," Nesmith shared on Facebook. "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."

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Tork is survived by his fourth wife, Pamela Grapes; his children Hallie, Ivan and Erica; a brother; and his sister.

Photo credit: Getty Images