Davy Jones, 1945-2012
(CNN) -- Davy Jones, whose charming grin and British accent won the hearts of millions of fans on the 1960s television series "The Monkees," died Wednesday, according to the Martin County, Florida, sheriff's office. He was 66.
A witness told authorities he was with Jones in Indiantown, Florida, when Jones "began to complain of not feeling well and having trouble breathing," the sheriff's office said in a statement.
Jones was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, authorities said.
A Martin County law enforcement source with knowledge of the case said Jones apparently suffered a heart attack.
Laurie Jacobson, whose company Living Legends LTD often booked Jones for Hollywood nostalgia shows, spoke with him two days ago about several new bookings.
"He was a vegetarian, and there was not an ounce of fat on the guy," Jacobson said. "He lived on the beach in Florida and ran miles every morning. This is the last person I expected this to happen to. He couldn't have been in better shape."
The diminutive vocalist and actor sang lead on the musical group's hits such as "Daydream Believer" and "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You."
Besides Jones, The Monkees included band members Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith. The pop group was created to star in an NBC sitcom and capitalize on the Beatles' teenybopper popularity. "The Monkees" TV series premiered in the fall of 1966.
In terms of musical popularity, the project succeeded beyond anyone's expectations, with the group notching a handful of No. 1 songs (including "I'm a Believer," Billboard's top song of 1967) and four No. 1 albums.
The group, which was dubbed the "prefab four" by critics, rebelled against its management in an effort to take control of its musical career.
The move worked to an extent -- band members, who had generally been replaced by session men on Monkees recordings, were allowed to play their own instruments and contribute songs -- but coincided with a decline in the Monkees' popularity. NBC canceled the TV series "The Monkees" after just two seasons, and the band lasted for only one more year after that.
Though the TV show was never a huge ratings hit, its knockabout, Marx Brothers-style comedy -- inspired, to an extent, by the loopier sequences in the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night" -- gained fans and followers, reigniting the band's popularity when MTV reran the show in the mid-'80s.