The Monks frontman Gary Burger has died, aged 70.

The singer lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on 14 March (14).

Burger began his career in a band called the Torquays, which he formed in the 1960s along with a group of fellow U.S. soldiers while stationed in Germany. They later changed their name to The Monks and shaved circles into their hair and adopted cassock-style costumes.

The cult rock group was known for its individual sound which was considered a precursor to the punk movement. They toured with acts including Jimi Hendrix, The Kinks and The Troggs, but only released one album, 1966's Black Monk Time, before splitting in the late 1960s.

They were hailed as a major influence by later bands including the Beastie Boys, Green Day and the White Stripes, and one of their songs was featured in the Cohen brothers' movie The Big Lebowski in 1998, prompting a reunion in 1999 which was halted by the death of drummer Roger Johnston in 2004.

The Monks were the subject of a documentary film, Monks: The Transatlantic Feedback, and a tribute album which featured acts including Gossip and British rockers The Fall, who recorded with Burger.

In his later years, Burger served as mayor of Turtle River, a city in Minnesota.