Tom Petty was 66.
“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. PT surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends.— Tony Dimitriades, longtime manager of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers on behalf of the family.”
There was confusion earlier in the day citing that Petty had died but was just taken off life support. LAPD later released a statement that the report was inaccurate: “The LAPD has no information about the passing of singer Tom Petty. Initial information was inadvertently provided to some media sources. However, the LAPD has no investigative role in this matter. We apologize for any inconvenience in this reporting.”
Petty, who was 66, had recently ended the 40th anniversary of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers tour with a multi-night stand at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl.
He had just wrapped up his tour last Monday.
Born in Gainesville, FL, Petty made an impact from the release of his band’s 1976 debut album, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, which spawned two hits, “Breakdown” and “American Girl,” timeless classics that still enjoy radio spins to this day.
Charting with a pair of singles (“Listen to Her Heart,” “I Need to Know”) from the band’s second album, You’re Gonna Get It!, Petty and the Heartbreakers struck gold with the 1979 follow-up, Damn the Torpedoes. The album peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Top 200, powered by a trio of huge singles: “Don’t Do Me Like That,” Refugee” and “Here Comes My Girl.”
Established as one of America’s premier rock acts of the ’80s, Petty and the Heartbreakers would release a series of hit albums throughout the decade, with the singer striking out on his own with 1989 solo debut, Full Moon Fever.
A year earlier, Petty had teamed up with Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, George Harrison and ELO’s Jeff Lynne to release the first album from super-group, Traveling Wilburys. The band would release a second album, cheekily entitled Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3, in 1990.
Petty’s success would continue into the new century, with the singer inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 and performing at the Super Bowl in 2008.
He is survived by his wife Dana York Epperson and his two daughters.