Michael Nesmith, a founding member of the Monkees, died on Thursday, leaving behind a rock n’ roll legacy of country, classic rock, and TV and movie stardom. His manager says the 71-year-old died suddenly in a Burbank hospital, one week after wrapping the “After the Monkees” tour with his surviving groupmates, Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz.
“Michael Nesmith, a founding member of the group The Monkees, passed away on May 10, 2018 at home in Burbank, CA,” a statement on Nesmith’s website said. “He was 71. Nesmith was excited about the tour, recently spoke with New York Magazine about his pride in the performances. Nesmith was admitted to a hospital in Burbank for an illness on May 5. Last Friday, while his bandmates performed in Pittsburgh, he was admitted to the hospital for an illness and died early this morning.
“Nesmith is survived by his wife, Betsy, with whom he had been married since 1978. He is also survived by sons Scot and Wolfgang and their families. He was the father of three children and grandmother of two. He is survived by his sister Andrea Nesmith, and six nieces and nephews.
“Nesmith’s family have asked for privacy during this difficult time.”
So true. Truly nothing more to say but we’ll miss you. RIP Michael Nesmith. — Davy Jones (@davyjones2) May 12, 2018
At only 69 years old, Davy Jones also tragically passed away while on tour last year. When asked about that, Nesmith told Rolling Stone in 2016, “he used to remind me of another adult man in charge of an entire species and he said, ‘Michael, in your dreams, they’re going to all be dead by the end of the evening.’ But that’s basically what happened in my life, and it’s starting to happen again now. I have plenty of time to deal with it.”
Author and journalist George Harrison Brown, a friend of Nesmith for a half-century, had written recently about the singer’s progress since the death of his longtime partner, drummer Tony Malfitano, in 2003.
“A couple of months after the announcement of his retirement, Nesmith called Brown to tell him that he’d picked up a young woman named Jessica May in Cannes,” Brown wrote in The New Yorker in 2016. “He told him she was his fiancée, and his first wife. And then he asked Brown to ‘pay his respects.’ ”
The pair grew closer after he and Malfitano split, but it wasn’t until they met again in 2013 that they found love. Nesmith told Brown that he had been suffering from “excruciating anxiety and hypochondria,” and that part of his recent state of mind was “masturbation denial,” which he attributed to the stress of being a musician and being blacklisted in the U.S. during the Nixon administration.
In his last interview, before retiring to write and spend time with his family, Nesmith had discussed his belief that “All men were created the same,” and that though his musical interest began when he was a child, “There was no point in doing anything more serious until the age of twenty-one, when I came to the conclusion that it would not work.” At that point, he and Malfitano, a fellow child prodigy, took up trombone as their calling.
“I believe God works through me,” Nesmith told Brown in 2016. “I don’t know when it begins and stops. I don’t know when it happens or when it ends. But it does.”
Read the full story at Rolling Stone.
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