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How Did Peter Tork Die? New Details About The Monkees Guitarist Who Died At 77

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How Did Peter Tork Die? New Details About The Monkees Guitarist Who Died At 77

Peter Tork has died. The former Monkees guitarist died at the age of 77. His death was announced on his official Facebook page on Thursday, according to CNN.

"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 read. "As we have mentioned in the past, the PTFB team is made up of Peter's friends, family and colleagues — we ask for your kindness and understanding in allowing us to grieve this huge loss privately."

"We want to thank each and every one of you for your love, dedication and support of our 'boss.' Having you in our world has meant so very much to all of us. Please know that Peter was extremely appreciative of you, his Torkees, and one of his deepest joys was to be out in front of you, playing his music, and seeing you enjoy what he had to share. We send blessings and thoughts of comfort to you all, with much gratitude."

So how did Peter Tork die? Here's everything we know about his death and how he passed. 

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1. His cause of death hasn't been specified. 

A cause of death for Tork has not been specified. However, he wrote about being diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma in his tongue in 2009 for The Washington Post. 

"Late last year, after a few months of my not swallowing in a normal way, a friend mentioned that my voice sounded funny, kind of squawky and nasal," he wrote. "I'd meant to get it checked out, but her observation pushed me to doing something about it sooner rather than later. I went to an ear, nose and throat doctor, who sprayed my nostrils with anesthetic and sent a length of fiber-optic cable up my nose and down my throat. He came back with bad news. There was a growth on the lower region of my tongue. He suspected squamous cell carcinoma.

"I don't count myself as being afraid to die, but the news hit me like a fist to the chest."

2. It's a rare kind of cancer. 

According to WebMD, adenoid cystic carcinoma is a rare form of cancer that typically starts in the glands that make saliva, which are located under your tongue and below your jawbone. Of the 500,000 people who get cancer each year, 1,200 of them have adenoid cystic carcinoma. It affects more women than men. 

"Adenoid cystic carcinoma, ACC to the cognoscenti, is a relatively rare cancer, usually occurring in the salivary glands," Tork wrote in his article for The Post. "Mine occurred on the lower part of my tongue; that's even rarer. I wound up in New York at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where one Dr. Jatin Shah told me I should get surgery as soon as possible. I thought about it a second and said I wasn't doing anything that afternoon."

"Dr. Shah laughed and amended: as soon as practicable. That turned out to be the following Wednesday, which was March 4. I woke up from that surgery with another tube up my nose and down my throat — this one for feeding me. About three months later I began a follow-up course of radiation at a high-tech hospital in Boston, where they rev up a cyclotron and pipe protons down the hall and through a giant metal tube into my throat. (Remember electrons, neutrons and protons? Those.)"

3. He reportedly beat cancer. 

After the surgery and one round of radiation, Tork received an "all-clear" from his doctor. He had continued to perform while receiving all of his cancer treatments. 

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4. However, his death appears to be from complications due to his cancer.

Tork's son, Ivan Iannoli, told The New York Times that his father died due to complications from his adenoid cystic carcinoma. He died on Thursday at his family home in eastern Connecticut. 

In addition to his son, he is survived by his fourth wife, Pamela Grapes, whom he married in 2014; two daughters, Hallie Iannoli and Erica Thorkelson; a sister, Anne Thorkelson; a brother, Nick Thorkelson; and three grandchildren.

Tork was previously married  Jody Babb, Reine Steward and Barbara Iannoli. 

5. People have been remembering Tork on social media. 

People in the entertainment and music industry have taken to social media to remember Tork for his musical talent, jokester role on The Monkees' show, and lighthearted attitude. 

"There are no words right now," tweeted Micky Dolenz, former drummer of The Monkees. "Heart broken over the loss of my Monkee brother Peter Tork."

"Our hearts are broken by the loss of our life-long friend Peter Tork. He was a talented musician and gentle soul. He will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends," tweeted Deana Martin, daughter of American signer Dean Martin. 


Peter Tork, best known as the bassist for The Monkees, RIP.  #PeterTork #TheMonkees #RIP

A post shared by 1960s (@60sgoodtimes) on Feb 21, 2019 at 5:23pm PST

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Emily Blackwood is a writer and editor living in California. She covers all things news, pop culture, and true crime.