Tom Petty, the Southern-accented rocker whose classic melodies and dark storytelling created 40 years of hit songs, died on Monday of cardiac arrest.
His family confirmed that, Petty passed away Monday night at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles after he suffered cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu, California, spokeswoman Carla Sacks, said he was 66.
“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,” manager Tony Dimitriades said. “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.”
Sunday night, sheriff’s officials from the Malibu station were called to Petty’s home around 10:50 p.m. on a report of cardiac arrest. The Los Angeles County Fire Department rushed Petty to UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, sheriff’s officials said.
‘Earlier Monday, there were reports of his death, but they were later retracted and he was said to be clinging to life. Petty died at 8:40 p.m”. Dimitriades said
“He died peacefully at 8:40pm PT surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends.”
Petty, who recorded most of his career as the frontman for the Heartbreakers, was best known for 1980s classic rock staples like “Refugee” “The Waiting” “Free Fallin,” “I Won’t Back Down” and “Running Down a Dream.”
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers sold some 80 million records since breaking through in the 1970s.
The singer, who would have turned 67 later this month, had been set to wrap up his 40th anniversary tour with the Heartbreakers next month.”I’m thinking it may be the last trip around the country,” Petty told Rolling Stone last year. “We’re all on the backside of our 60s. I have a granddaughter now I’d like to see as much as I can. I don’t want to spend my life on the road. This tour will take me away for four months. With a little kid, that’s a lot of time.”
The Gainesville, Florida, native with the shaggy blond hair and gaunt features was loved for his melodic hard rock, nasally vocals and down-to-earth style.The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which inducted Petty and the Heartbreakers in 2002, praised them as “durable, resourceful, hard-working, likable and unpretentious.”
Petty’s albums included “Damn the Torpedoes,” ”Hard Promises” and “Full Moon Fever,” although his first No. 1 did not come until 2014 and “Hypnotic Eye.” As a songwriter, he focused often on daily struggles and the will to overcome them, most memorably on “Refugee,” ”Even the Losers” and “I Won’t Back Down.”