Tom Petty, the American rocker who fronted one of the country’s longest-running, most successful bands, is dead at 66, according to his longtime manager.
Petty had suffered cardiac arrest at his Malibu home early Monday morning “and was taken to UCLA Medical center but could not be revived,” Tony Dimitriades, longtime manager of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, said in a statement on behalf of the musician’s family. “He died peacefully at 8:40pm PT surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends.”
The news came hours after TMZ first reported that Petty was found unconscious in full cardiac arrest at his Malibu home. CBS News later reported his death, but the outlet walked back that report as the Los Angeles Police Department issued a statement that it had no information on Petty’s passing.
“Initial information was inadvertantly [sic] provided to some media sources,” the police department posted on Twitter. “However, the LAPD has no investigative role in this matter.
We apologize for any inconvenience in this reporting.” TMZ followed up with a post around 1:30 p.m. PST that Petty was “still clinging to life. A report that the LAPD confirmed the singer’s death is inaccurate.”
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers had just concluded their 40th anniversary tour, which Petty had said would be the band’s last big, country-spanning tour. The group played shows at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl on Sept. 21, 22 and 25, and earlier on Monday, Petty’s official website posted a recap of the group’s final shows.
“It’s 1:22 a.m., and the last lighting, video and sound cases are getting loaded up and pushed off the stage at the Hollywood Bowl, where Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers played three incredible sold-out, hometown shows to close out the band’s 40th Anniversary tour,” reads the blog post. “Fifty-three shows. Twenty-four states. Twelve lighting crew. Eleven truck drivers. Nine in Production. Seven sound guys. Six backline crew. Six months. Five opening acts. Three countries. Three riggers. One legendary band and over one million legendary fans. Thank you to all!”
In August, a series of shows was postponed as Petty recovered from laryngitis. On Monday, a few hours before TMZ ran with the news, this throwback photo had been posted to Petty’s official Twitter account.
Originally from Florida, Petty rose to fame as the frontman of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, whose 1976 self-titled debut featured his unique nasal voice and guitar work. His career, both with the band and as a solo act, spanned decades and included hits such as “Rockin’ Around (With You),” “Breakdown,” “Free Fallin’” and “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.”