UPDATE #2 [10/3/17 – 12:15 a.m. PDT]: Tom Petty has passed away, according to official reports from his longtime manager and friend: Apple News/Buzzfeed News is reporting that Tom Petty’s camp has issued an official statement on behalf of Petty’s family and friends:
On behalf of the Tom Petty family we are devastated to announce the untimely death of of our father, husband, brother, leader and friend Tom Petty,” said Tony Dimitriades, longtime manager of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers on behalf of the family. “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.
UPDATE #1: While many major news outlets have announced that Tom Petty has passed away based on a report from CBS News, the LAPD has since announced that they cannot confirm that Petty has died, conflicting the story’s initial source.
The LAPD says it cannot confirm earlier reports of singer Tom Petty’s death. TMZ reports that the singer is still clinging to life. pic.twitter.com/Xv4UtVdY4Z
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 2, 2017
Following widespread reports that he was rushed to the hospital after suffering a heart attack in his Malibu, CA home on Sunday night, many major news outlets have reported that legendary singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/bandleader Tom Petty has passed away at the age of 66.
[Cover Photo via Andrew Blackstein]
The Gainesville, FL native rose to fame in the 1970s with his band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Beginning with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ self-titled 1976 hit debut album, Petty experienced a level of success and longevity rarely seen in the history of popular music. He scored an extensive list of his singles over the years with The Heartbreakers, and experienced critical and commercial success as a songwriter/collaborator with Stevie Nicks (as on “Needles and Pins” and “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”) well as with a variety of other successful projects including the Traveling Wilburys (a late-’80’s supergroup with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, and Roy Orbison) and Mudcrutch (his pre-heartbreakers band with whom he released a reunion album, 2, in 2016).
Tom Petty’s music has crossed generational boundaries, and rock radio continues to feature his extensive catalogue of hit songs to this day (including “American Girl,” “Breakdown,” “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” “Free Fallin’,” “Don’t Do Me Like That,” “I Won’t Back Down,” “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” “You Don’t Know How It Feels,” “You Got Lucky,” “Refugee,” “Jammin’ Me,” and countless others). His work glamorized the stories of rebels, refugees, outcasts, and all the downtrodden, making their narratives the central theme in his vastly successful catalogue. His distinctive voice and smooth rock sound became the soundtrack for those down-and-out souls, and the millions of people who heard their stories through Petty’s music.
Over the course of his decorated music career, Petty sold more than 80 Million records worldwide, ranking him among the highest-selling recording artists of all time.
Tom Petty and The Heartreakers had just finished their extensive national 40th anniversary tour with a performance at The Hollywood Bowl in Hollywood, CA exactly one week ago, on September 25th, 2017. Following the tour, Petty and the band issued an official thank you for their 40 years of support. Now, that message to fans rings even truer than it did when it was posted on Friday. “Without YOU, there’d be no US!,” it read.
Petty was found collapsed and in full cardiac arrest at his Santa Monica home on Sunday night. He was rushed to the hospital, where he was put on life support. Earlier today, it was reported that Petty had stopped exhibiting brain function, and the decision had been made to take him off of life support.
“It’s shocking, crushing news,” Petty’s friend and Traveling Wilburys bandmate Bob Dylan tells Rolling Stone in a statement. “I thought the world of Tom. He was great performer, full of the light, a friend, and I’ll never forget him.”
Watch Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers’ famous New Year’s Eve ’78-’79 performance in Santa Monica, CA below, via YouTube user Josh Daniel:
Rest easy, Tom. You will be sorely missed.