RIP Tom Petty

Rock icon dies after suffering cardiac arrest

By Gary Graff
October 3, 2017

Iconic American rocker Tom Petty died on Monday night (Oct. 2) at the age of 66 after suffering a full cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu on Sunday (Oct. 1).

Paramedics found Petty unconscious and not breathing, but with a pulse when they were called to the scene; he was rushed to UCLA Santa Monica Hospital and put on life support. When no brain activity could be found earlier today, according to TMZ, Petty was taken off life support. There were erroneous reports of his death on Monday afternoon, subsequently recanted until Petty’s manager confirmed his passing in the evening.

Petty and his band the Heartbreakers had recently finished a their 40th anniversary tour on Sept. 21 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. Petty also produced and performed on Bidin’ My Time, the new album by fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Chris HIllman. A native of Gainesville, Florida, Petty traveled west during the mid-’70s with his band Mudcrutch, which included future Heartbreakers Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench; the Heartbreakers released their first album in 1976, releasing a dozen more albums up to 2014’s Hypnotic Eye. Petty also released three solo albums and a pair of albums with the all-star Traveling Wilburys, and he reactivated Mudcrutch in 2008.

Petty and the Heartbreakers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1999. He received the George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement  as well as the ASCAP Golden Note Award in 1996 and a Billboard Century Award in 2005 and was named the MusiCares Person of the Year for 2017, where he was honored during Grammy Awards Week in Los Angeles.

Back in 2005 Petty told us that he was surprised at how long his career was lasting: “It’s a really great surprise to find out you can get better as you get older. It was 1976 when the band started…There weren’t a lot of rock stars in their 50s or 60s — or 70s — then. I don’t think there were that many even in their 40s. It wasn’t that kind of job. You didn’t look at it as a job you’d do your whole life. I remember thinking at one point: ‘Boy, if this goes on for five years, that would be quite a run.’ Then when we hit five years, I remember thinking: “Man, if this goes on 10 years it’d be incredible.'”

Petty is survived by his second wife, Diana, and adult daughters Adria and AnnaKim Violette from his first marriage. Funeral and memorial details are yet to be announced.