Tom Petty Dead at 66
Tom Petty, the bandleader who shot to fame with the Heartbreakers and enjoyed a successful, four-decade career, died late Monday.
He was 66.
Petty suffered cardiac arrest early in the day and was rushed unconscious to a hospital. He was taken off life support and CBS News reported his death that afternoon before the Los Angeles Police walked back the confirmation it provided.
”Sending love to Tom Petty and his family at this difficult time,” Paul McCartney tweeted at the time.
Confusion persisted until manager Tony Dimitriades confirmed Petty’s death on Facebook late on Oct. 2.
”On behalf of the Tom Petty family we are devastated to announce the untimely death 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. PST surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends.”
”So sad about Tom Petty, he made some great music,” Mick Jagger tweeted. “Thoughts are with his family.”
Petty and the Heartbreakers found massive success with their third album, 1979’s Damn the Torpedos. It spawned the hits “Refugee” and “Don’t Do Me Like That” and cemented a partnership that continued through the band’s 40th-anniversary tour, which wrapped Sept. 25.
Dwight Yoakam took to Facebook to eulogize Petty and said he arrived at just the right time.
”Just about the time when the punks had overrun the music world, sacked and burned Rome, this cat showed up still redneck, hot rod, rockin’!! … Never got to know him, except as a fan, but I’m sure gonna miss him.”
Ted Nugent called Petty a “great gifted hardworking American soulmusic master” in a Facebook post.
”We thank and salute the great musician for enriching so many peoples lives with his brilliant songwriting, soulful performances and virtuoso bandmates,” he said. “… His music and soul will live forever.”
Outside the Heartbreakers, Petty was a successful solo artist with albums such as Full Moon Fever and Wildflowers. In 1988, he was the kid (dubbed “Charlie T. Jr.”) in the Traveling Wilburys, with George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne and Bob Dylan and recently toured and recorded with a reconstituted version of his first band, Mudcrutch.
In a statement to Rolling Stone, Dylan called Petty’s death, “shocking, crushing news.
“I thought the world of Tom. He was a great performer, full of the light, a friend, and I’ll never forget him.”
An unabashed Byrds fan, Petty often played “So You Want to be a Rock and Roll Star” in concert and produced Chris Hillman’s just-released Bidin’ My Time LP.
“[He’s] very subtle. He has good ideas, and he … lets the music flow,” Hillman told The Boot in discussing Petty’s production skills. “He was very good, a very good producer. I’ve worked with some good ones, and he’s up there with them.”
”Tom Petty was a kind friend with a beautiful soul,” Eddie Money said. “Our condolences go out to his family and may he rest in peace. We will miss him.”
A “heartbroken” Brian Wilson offered “love and mercy” to Petty’s friends, family and fans.
”He was just too young and still in his prime,” Wilson wrote. “Tom was a hell of a songwriter and record-maker and he will be missed by everyone who loves music. I’m so sad to hear about this.”
At the height of his success, Petty fought against record labels’ efforts to raise LP prices and was revered for his band’s live shows.
”His music will endure,” Huey Lewis said on Facebook.
Outside of music, Petty provided the voice of Lucky on “Family Guy.”
”Devastating loss in Mr. Tom Petty,” George Thorogood said on Facebook. “He will be remembered as a true rock legend - so many classics. Thoughts and prayers to the Petty family and team.”
Petty had said the just-wrapped tour would be the Heartbreakers’ last major outing, but the band, which released an unlikely No. 1 album Hypnotic Eye in 2014, had a handful of dates scheduled for later this year.
Kid Rock noted Petty’s death came less than 24 hours after 59 concertgoers were murdered and more than 500 injured in Las Vegas.
”Just when I though today could not get any worse … R.I.P. Tom Petty,” he said on Facebook.
“Thank you for your beautiful music and inspiration.”