Davy Jones, the mop-topped leader of 1960s pop band The Monkees, died Wednesday of a massive heart attack. Jones was 66.
His publicist, Helen Kensick, said the singer died in Indiantown, Fla., where he lived.
With an infectious smile and easy humor, the diminutive Briton played the Paul McCartney role in the Beatles-inspired quartet, which also included Peter Tosh, Micky Dolenz and Mike Nesmith.
Jones sang lead on some of the group's biggest hits, including Last Train to Clarksville and I'm a Believer.
Jones, who like his bandmates had continued to perform, had dates scheduled for March.
Formed in 1966 by Hollywood producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider, The Monkess quickly stormed radio and TV airwaves with a string of chart-topping songs that went on to sell an estimated 65 million copies worldwide.
"There were certain indelible images we had of The Monkees, and that was Mike's cap, Micky's goofy looks and Davy's cuteness," says Phil Gallo, senior correspondent at Billboard. "Of all of them, Davy's character was the softest. He was the nice guy, the crowd pleaser."
Gallo recalls being a kid in the 1960s, "collecting Batman cards, then graduating to Monkees cards, way before I got into baseball cards. They were the very first boy band, when you think about it."
Jones was born Dec. 30, 1945, in Manchester, England. His long hair and British accent helped him achieve heartthrob status in the United States.
According to The Monkees website, Monkees.com, he left the band in late 1970. In the summer of 1971, he recorded a solo hit Rainy Jane and made a series of appearances on American variety and television shows, including Love American Style and The Brady Bunch.
By the mid-1980s, Jones teamed up Tork, Dolenz and promoter David Fishof for a reunion tour. Their popularity prompted MTV to re-air The Monkees series, introducing the group to a new audience.
In 1989, the group received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In the late 1990s, the group filmed a special called Hey, Hey, It's the Monkees.
Jones is survived by his wife Jessica and four daughters from previous marriages.
Contributing: Associated Press