Rock legend Tom Petty passes away at 66
By: Daniel Caudle
Tributes are pouring in for veteran rocker Tom Petty who passed away at the age of 66 after a cardiac arrest on Monday.
Petty was found in his Malibu home unconscious and not breathing. He reportedly died peacefully surrounded by family, friends and his bandmates.
“On behalf of the Tom Petty Family, we are devastated to announce the untimely death of our father, husband, brother, leader and friend Tom Petty,” said Petty’s manager Tony Dimitriades on behalf of the family.
In a statement to Rolling Stone magazine Bob Dylan called Petty’s death “shocking and crushing news.”
Musicians from all genres of music began tweeting their condolences about the fallen rockstar.
So sad about Tom Petty, he made some great music. Thoughts are with his family.
— Mick Jagger (@MickJagger) October 3, 2017
Down here on E Street, we’re devastated and heartbroken over the death of Tom Petty. Our hearts go out to his family and bandmates.
— Bruce Springsteen (@springsteen) October 3, 2017
Sending love to Tom Petty and his family at this difficult time.
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) October 2, 2017
The American musician was best known as the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and also had a successful solo career, leading to 80 million records sold worldwide. In 2002 Petty was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“First of all [Tom Petty] was very much on the side of the fans. He never phoned in a show, I’ve never heard of him just phoning in a show. He was concerned about fans getting value for their money, said Canadian broadcaster Alan Cross, who is an expert on the history of rock’n’roll.
Petty and the Heartbreakers were first introduced to the public in the 1970’s. Following a solo career and with his band, Petty introduced a string of hit songs over the next three decades, including “Free Fallin’,” “American Girl,” and “Don’t Do Me Like That.”
The band did not see a big breakthrough until the release of their third album “Damn the Torpedoes,” which was their first album to go platinum multiple times in the U.S and Canada.
During his career Petty also formed the supergroup The Traveling Wilbury’s, which consisted of Petty, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison.
Former Beatle, and Traveling Wilbury’s member George Harrison took to twitter saying “Tom was a tender southern gent in life, a poet and a music master on stage. He had a rocking chair wisdom that brought everything back down to earth. We will love and miss him for the rest of our days. Our thoughts are with his family.
With a 40th anniversary tour of the United States this year, the band was able to do one last victory lap before their lead singer passed away. Featuring three dates in late September at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, the band was scheduled to perform two dates in New York in November.
A known advocate for music rights and keeping fans happy, Petty pulled a publicity stunt that caused some tension within the music industry.
“Back in the late 1970’s his record company was looking to raise the price of albums by artists who were superstars. The price was going to go from $8.98 to $9.98, and Petty came out very publicly against this. In fact what he did was hold back his album and not give it to the record company, his hard promises album, and threatened to call it $8.98,” said Cross.
Petty was born in Florida on Oct. 20, 1950, where he reportedly was introduced to rock’n’roll at a young age when he met Elvis Presley, who was shooting the movie “Follow That Dream.”
Petty is survived by his wife Dana York, and two daughters, Kimberly Violette Petty and Adria Petty.