Local Current Blog

Tom Petty passes away at age 66

Tom Petty at the Xcel Energy Center in June 2017 (Photo by Nate Ryan/MPR)

Update, 6:30 a.m., October 3: Rock star Tom Petty has died, his manager Tony Dimitriades announced Monday. He was found in critical condition at his home in Malibu, Calif., Sunday night after suffering full cardiac arrest, as first reported by the website TMZ. Petty was taken to UCLA Santa Monica Hospital, where he died on Monday at 11:40 p.m. ET. Petty was a widely lauded songwriter, singer, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. He was 66 years old.

Listen to the Current today to hear Tom Petty’s music every hour and share your favorite Petty song or story here.

Update, 4:30 p.m.: Following a CBS News report earlier this afternoon that Tom Petty had died, which cited Los Angeles Police Department sources, the LAPD has issued a statement that, “Initial information was inadvertantly [sic] provided to some media sources” and that they could not confirm Petty’s death.

According to celebrity news site TMZ, who broke the news this afternoon, “Sources tell us at 10:30 Monday morning a chaplain was called to Tom’s hospital room. We’re told the family has a do not resuscitate order on Tom. The singer is not expected to live throughout the day, but he’s still clinging to life.”

Original post, 3:19 p.m.: Tom Petty, whose unapologetically optimistic and heartfelt rock anthems have been as familiar and consistent over the past four decades as the grass on the ground and the sun in the sky, has reportedly passed away at 66 after suffering cardiac arrest, CBS News reports.

As a solo artist, the leader of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and as a collaborator in the supergroup the Traveling Wilburys (where he performed alongside Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, and George Harrison), Tom Petty spent the past 40 years crafting unforgettable melodies that would become the backbone of classic rock radio, cross-country road trip playlists and sports stadium soundtracks.

He was one of the most iconic and beloved rock ‘n’ roll artists of his generation.

Tom Petty recently wrapped up a 40th anniversary tour and his final with the Heartbreakers. They performed three nights at the Hollywood Bowl, with the final performance happening a week ago today, and came through the Xcel Energy Center in June.

“Is there any rock star less assuming?” writer Jay Gabler asked after seeing that Xcel show. “Petty’s understated genius applies not just to his personal demeanor, but to his music… Petty still comes off as the kid who’s cool because he takes himself seriously, but not too seriously. That’s the image that appears on the cover of Damn the Torpedoes and other early albums: the lanky, sun-kissed Florida boy who’s running down a dream. Four decades later, he’s lived his dream, but he keeps running on.”

As soon as news of Petty’s passing broke, social media timelines were flooded with appreciation and memories. An already tough day for Americans reeling from the tragedy at a country music festival in Las Vegas just got even sadder, with Petty’s prolific catalog serving as our only solace.

“It’s shocking, crushing news,” Petty’s friend and Traveling Wilburys bandmate Bob Dylan tells Rolling Stone in a statement. “I thought the world of Tom. He was great performer, full of the light, a friend, and I’ll never forget him.”