Tom Petty 1950–2017

October 2, 2017

Marc Millman

Tom Petty has passed away at the age of 66. The iconic singer-songwriter was found unconscious and in cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu, CA, early Monday morning and was subsequently taken to the UCLA Santa Monica Hospital, where he was eventually taken off life support after doctors detected no brain activity. The news was first reported by TMZ early Monday afternoon and confirmed tonight by Petty’s longtime manager Tony Dimitriades.

“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,” a statement from Dimitriades reads. “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 8:40pm PT surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends.”

Most widely known for his work with backing band The Heartbreakers, Petty found fame with an extensive catalog from the group’s 1976 self-titled debut to their most recent effort, 2014’s Hypnotic Eye. Songs like “Free Fallin’,” “American Girl,” “I Won’t Back Down,” “Learning to Fly,” “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” “Breakdown,” “Runnin’ Down a Dream” and many more have made their way in to the American music canon and solidified Petty’s position as one of the most influential songwriters of the last half-decade.

Petty, born in Gainesville, FL, in 1950, was also a member of the ’80s supergroup The Traveling Wilburys (under the pseudonyms Charlie T. Wilbury, Jr., and Muddy Wilbury) along with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison. The group recorded two albums in 1988 and 1990. Before teaming up with The Heartbreakers, Petty also led the band Mudcrutch, which reunited in 2008 and released two albums, including 2016’s 2. Petty was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. His final tour, which wrapped up last week at the Hollywood Bowl, celebrated the 40th anniversary of The Heartbreakers.