Tributes to Monkees frontman Davy Jones whose sister lived in Thetford and Loddon, Norfolk

Monkees lead singer – and regular visitor to Norfolk – Davy Jones has died in America.

The Manchester-born singer and actor died in his sleep yesterday at his home in Florida of a heart attack, according to a spokesman for Jones.

The 66-year-old, who found fame as the frontman of the band put together to star in their own TV show, often visited his Norfolk sister, Linda, in Loddon and Thetford.

He would visit her Leman Grove council home in Loddon three or four times a year in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Large groups would often congregate outside the house once news of his visit got out.

Yesterday, a spokeswoman for the Medical Examiner's Office for Martin County, Florida, said: 'A possible autopsy will be performed and evaluation of the circumstances of death and medical information.'

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Jones first found fame as Ena Sharples' grandson in Coronation Street.

He also appeared in Z Cars before leaving showbusiness to train as a jockey but came back to acting with a role in a stage production of Oliver!

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He appeared in the West End and followed the show to Broadway where he built up a career as an actor and singer before he auditioned for The Monkees.

Three of the band's original members – Jones, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork – got back together last year to play a series of gigs.

Today they lead the tributes to Jones.

In a statement Tork said: 'It is with great sadness that I reflect on the sudden passing of my long-time friend and fellow-adventurer, David Jones.

'His talent will be much missed. His gifts will be with us always.'

Fellow Monkees star Mike Nesmith said: 'So many lovely and heartfelt messages of condolence and sympathy, I don't know what to say, except my sincere thank you to all. I share and appreciate your feelings.

'David's spirit and soul live well in my heart, among all the lovely people, who remember with me the good times, and the healing times, that were created for so many, including us. I have fond memories. I wish him safe travels.'

The band had nine top 40 hits including I'm A Believer and Pleasant Valley Sunday but were initially criticised for the manufactured nature of their career, with Californian rivals The Byrds mocking them in their single So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star.

But they eventually proved themselves, writing more of their own songs and starring in 1960s cult film Head with Jack Nicholson.

The band's fourth original member, Mike Nesmith, who went on to record a series of critically acclaimed country albums, did not take part in the reunion.

Jones is survived by his third wife Jessica, his four daughters – Talia Jones, Sarah McFadden, Jessica Cramar and Annabel Jones – three sisters, Hazel Wilkinson, Beryl Leigh and Lynda Moore, and three grandchildren, Harrison and Lauren McFadden and Phoenix Burrows.

Jones's manager and brother-in-law Joseph Pacheco paid tribute, describing him as an 'incredible human being'.

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