In a whirlwind of news reports, it’s sad to share that Tom Petty has died at the age of 66.
Petty’s death was confirmed by manager Tony Dimitriades to The New York Times.
TMZ first reported yesterday (October 2) that Petty was rushed to the hospital Sunday night, after he was found unconscious, not breathing, and in cardiac arrest. It was further shared in an update that Petty had no brain activity when he reached the hospital, and a decision was made to pull life support.
A report from CBS News made the rounds yesterday that confirmed Petty’s via the Los Angeles Police Department, but those proved to be false.
Tom had just wrapped up a huge tour, that ended in Hollywood last Monday, so it’s no jump to say that the world is shocked that this is happening. It even went as far as to be a headline on Billboard, that Petty had noted that this may be the last big show and that he didn’t “want to spend the rest of his life on the road.”
Those words become even sadder knowing the end result.
Of course, fans will know that Tom Petty was the leader of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and has had 12 albums that hit the Billboard 200.
Damn The Torpedoes Billboard was the first major score in the late 70’s according to , and he has created major bodies of work that will last eons of time, including the songs “American Girl,” “Refugee,” the ever popular “Free Fallin’,” the anthemic “I Won’t Back Down,” and of course, “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.” 2014 landed Hypnotic Eye at Number 1.
Aside from The Heartbreakers, he made up a piece of the Traveling Wilburys in the late 80’s which included Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, and Roy Orbison, and knocked out 2 albums together under the namesake.
The accolades go on, including 3 GRAMMY wins, and 18 nominations, according to The New York Daily News.
In 2015, Petty released “Petty: The Biography,” in which he discussed his heroin addiction, as well as what The Washington Post called “full access” to the stories behind the creation of some of his major records, which included the previous mentioned Damn The Torpedoes, as well as Full Moon Fever and Echo. As they note that they wanted to show “that Tom Petty is a man who lived the bulk of his life in the album cycle.”
And while we mourn the loss of this great icon, Chris Willman of Variety puts it best when expressing the demeanor of what was present-day Tom from his last tour stop, just a week ago:
“Petty remains the perfect combination of an everyman who is One of Us and a rock superstar definitely not One of Us … his slow-drawling, almost stoner-like asides creating the most relaxed possible atmosphere for the audience, even as those shades hide the sharp eyes of one of rock’s most historically astute craftsmen. Rather than take the posture of a towering figure, he spends a lot of the night hunched over his guitar, as if he means to creep up on us. He’s won us over without ever seeming like he’s trying to, which maybe is one factor in why America isn’t any more tired of him and his Cheshire grin in 2017 than we were in a pre-MTV era.”
And sadly, with that, we lay another talented human to rest, who’s changed everyone’s life in one way or another: Tom Petty’s last dance.
Amy Cooper is a journalist who attempts to level with your feelings every chance she gets.