Michael Nesmith, Monkees singer-songwriter and guitarist, has died at 78

Musician Michael Nesmith, who rose to fame as a singer-songwriter and guitarist for The Monkees, died Friday of heart failure at his home in California, the band's record label, Rhino Records, confirmed to CBS News. He was 78.

In a statement to Rolling Stone, Nesmith's family said he died peacefully Friday morning surrounded by family members at his home in Carmel Valley, California. "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 family said.

Nesmith played in a farewell tour that ended nearly a month ago with bandmate Micky Dolenz. The quartet's other two members died in recent years. Peter Tork died in 2019, and Davy Jones died in 2012.

Mike Nesmith is seen on the set of the television show "The Monkees" circa 1967 in Los Angeles, California. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

For The Monkees, Nesmith wrote such songs as "Listen To The Band," "Mary, Mary," "Papa Gene's Blues" and "You Just May Be The One." According to the Associated Press, he wanted to debut breakup song "Different Drum" on "The Monkees" television show that sparked the band's 1966 creation, but music producer Don Kirshner wouldn't allow it.

Nesmith gave the song to Linda Ronstadt, and it became her first hit single, according to the AP. In 2012, Nesmith spoke with Rolling Stone about why he wanted the band to come up with their own material.

"We were kids with our own taste in music and were happier performing songs we liked — and/or wrote — than songs that were handed to us," he said. "It made for a better performance. It was more fun."

On Friday, Monkees manager Andrew Sandoval said on Facebook that people couldn't get closer to Nesmith than through knowing his work.

"Nez expressed the highest part of his being through his voice," Sandoval said. "… May all those who loved him feel his comfort at this time — just listen and he will be there for you."

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