Rock Legend Tom Petty Dead at 66, Confirms Manager
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UPDATE: After Tom Petty’s death was prematurely reported earlier on Monday by CBS News, while the rocker was still clinging to life, the longtime manager of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers has now confirmed that Petty passed away on Monday evening (Oct. 2).
“On behalf of the Tom Petty family,” states Tony Dimitriades, manager of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “we are devastated to announce the untimely death of of our father, husband, brother, leader and friend Tom Petty. He suffered cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu in the early hours of this morning and was taken to UCLA Medical Center but could not be revived. He died peacefully at 8:40 p.m. PT surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends.”
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer died at the age of 66. Petty was reportedly rushed to the hospital after EMTs found him unconscious, not breathing and in full cardiac arrest at his Mailbu, Calif., home. TMZ also reports that a decision to remove Petty from life support came after learning there was no brain activity.
The vocalist and guitarist was best known as the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, who formed in 1976, releasing their self-titled debut in November later that year. The album contained hits like “Breakdown” and “American Girl,” which helped to propel the band’s instant success. From there, the group, under Petty’s masterful guidance and writing prowess, would enjoy international stardom as the ’70s wound down and the next decade began.
Throughout his career, Petty and the Heartbreakers churned out a wealth of huge songs, including “Refugee,” “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” “Learning to Fly” and “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.” While billed as a solo artist, Petty also released the successful discs Full Moon Fever, Wildflowers and Highway Companion, which yielded such memorable tracks as “Free Fallin’,” “I Won’t Back Down,” “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” “You Don’t Know How It Feels” and “You Wreck Me” among others.
Outside of the Heartbreakers, Petty notably appeared with Stevie Nicks on the song “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” and was part of the all-star supergroup Travelin’ Wilburys with Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, George Harrison and Jeff Lynne. And late in his career, he reunited with his pre-Heartbreakers band Mudcrutch to release a pair of albums.
In total, five of the band’s 13 studio albums currently enjoy platinum and multi-platinum success with 1979’s Damn the Torpedoes being their highest selling stateside album, moving over three million copies since its release. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
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