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Michael Nesmith, Monkees singer and guitarist, dead at 78

By Sandra Gonzalez and Chloe Melas, CNN

Michael Nesmith, a singer and guitarist for the hit group the Monkees, died Friday.

He was 78.

Micky Dolenz, Nesmith’s bandmate, confirmed the news to CNN.

“I’ve lost a dear friend and partner,” Dolenz said. “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.”

Nesmith died of heart failure at his home in Carmel Valley, CA, according to his manager.

“With Infinite Love we announce that Michael Nesmith has passed away this morning in his home, surrounded by family, peacefully and of natural causes,” a statement on behalf of his family and obtained by Rolling Stone read. “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.”

Monkees tour manager Andrew Sandoval said the group had just recently been performing.

“We shared many travels and projects together over the course of 30 years, which culminated in a Monkees farewell tour that wrapped up only a few weeks ago,” Sandoval tweeted.

Nesmith and surviving band member Dolenz last performed in Los Angeles on Nov. 14.

A Houston, Texas native, Nesmith moved to L.A. after a short stint in the Air Force. Before becoming a household name, he had success as a song writer, with songs like “Mary, Mary,” which was recorded by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and “Different Drum,” which was recorded by Linda Ronstadt.

He landed a role on the TV series “The Monkees” in 1965. The series aired from 1966 to 1968. He went on to have a solo career and has been considered one of the pioneers of country rock.

In 1981 he won a Grammy Award for video of the year.

He continued to tour with the Monkees throughout his career, while also touring solo.

Nesmith was married three times and is survived by four children.

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