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The Monkees star Michael Nesmith dies aged 78

Mike Nesmith of The Monkees (PA)
Mike Nesmith of The Monkees (PA)

Michael Nesmith, singer and guitarist with The Monkees, has died at the age of 78, his spokesman said.

Nesmith was best known as a member of the American pop quartet who achieved international fame in the 1960s, but was also a successful novelist and businessman.

A statement from his family said: “With Infinite Love we announce that Michael Nesmith has passed away this morning in his home, surrounded by family, peacefully and of natural causes.

“We ask that you respect our privacy at this time and we thank you for the love and light that all of you have shown him and us.”

The Monkees, clockwise from left, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Peter Tork and Davy Jones
The Monkees, clockwise from left, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Peter Tork and Davy Jones (Fiona Hanson/PA)

Along with vocalist Davy Jones, drummer Micky Dolenz and bassist Peter Tork, Nesmith recorded some of the decade’s most enduring songs, including I’m A Believer, Daydream Believer and Last Train To Clarksville.

He also appeared in the group’s successful self-titled television series which first aired between 1966 and 1968.

His spokesman confirmed that Nesmith died from natural causes on Friday morning, age 78.

Dolenz, 76, said: “I’m heartbroken. I’ve lost a dear friend and partner.

“I’m so grateful that we could spend the last couple of months together doing what we loved best – singing, laughing, and doing shtick.

“I’ll miss it all so much. Especially the shtick. Rest in peace, Nez. All my love, Mick.”

Kiss frontman Paul Stanley posted an image of Nesmith, and wrote: “WOW! Sometimes it’s hard to know why someone’s passing hits you a certain way but this is another one that hit me.

“I watch my world change as people that I thought to be timeless pass on, and that is sobering. Lives end and life goes on.”

Musician Steven Page called Nesmith “one of the all-time greatest” on Twitter, while comedian Patton Oswalt said: “Thank you for The Monkees, Elephant Parts, MTV & REPO MAN.”

Nesmith was hailed as an “underrated, talented musician, songwriter and video artist” by musician Midge Ure on Twitter.

Ure added: “Very sad to hear this. The Monkees star Michael Nesmith dies at 78.”

The Monkees, left to right, Davy Jones, Peter Tork, Mike Nesmith and Micky Dolenz, in 1967
The Monkees, left to right, Davy Jones, Peter Tork, Mike Nesmith and Micky Dolenz, in 1967 (PA)

After the band’s break-up, Nesmith continued his music career as a member of country rock group First National Band and as a solo artist.

He later worked as a filmmaker and won the first ever Grammy Award awarded for video of the year in 1981 for hour-long television show Elephant Parts.

Nesmith was also the executive producer of the cult sci-fi comedy film Repo Man, which starred Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton in 1984.

His death comes almost three years after bandmate Peter Tork, best known as the keyboardist and bassist in the quartet, “passed peacefully” at the age of 77.

The Monkees’ British-born member Davy Jones died in 2012 at the age of 66.

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