Tom Petty, Rock & Roll's Heartbreaker, Dead at 66

Tom Petty, Rock & Roll's Heartbreaker, Dead at 66

The rocker was 66 years old

Following confirmation from Tom Petty’s manager, it is with heavy hearts we report that the musical icon has died.

A message from Tom Petty’s Twitter account confirmed the news:

The singer was found unconscious in his Malibu home Sunday night after suffering a severe heart attack. He was immediately rushed to nearby UCLA Santa Monica Hospital, where he was put on life support, but quickly pulled off upon the discovery of no brain activity. Tom Petty’s manager announced the icon died peacefully at 8.40pm local time on Monday night, surrounded by family, his bandmates, and friends. He was 66 years old.

Petty, who had just wrapped up a tour with The Heartbreakers in late September, formed the backing band after releasing a pair of albums with his first ensemble, Mudcrutch, and a subsequent solo stint in the mid-seventies. They’d reach critical and commercial success with their 1979 album, Damn the Torpedoes, anchored by breakout singles “Don’t Do Me Like That,” “Refugee” and “Here Comes My Girl.” In the eighties, he formed The Traveling Wilburys supergroup with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne. Together they recorded and released two studio albums, the first of which, Vol. 1, went three-times platinum in the US, six-times in Canada in 1988. The following year, Petty released his debut solo album, Full Moon Fever, featuring what are likely his most readily-identifiable songs “I Won’t Back Down” and the floaty stadium anthem, “Free Fallin.”

The following decade found him working with Rick Rubin on his 1994 album, Wildflowers, a sophomore solo project with fellow Heartbreakers, Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench. Eight years more and he’d be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in the class of 2002, alongside Isaac Hayes, The Talking Heads and The Ramones, amongst others. Throughout his career, he’d remained a fearless advocate of artistic and creative control, never shying from throwing a suit at copyright infringers.

Petty was more than a Heartbreaker for most, but on this day, it’s hard to feel anything but broken. R.I.P. to the one and only, Tom Petty.


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