UPDATE 3/10/17: Tom Petty’s family and management have issued a statement confirming that the beloved musician has been taken off life support following his hospitalisation for cardiac arrest, and has passed away at the age of 66.
“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,” says the statement, issued by long-time manager of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Tom Dimitriades.
ORIGINAL STORY: Iconic U.S. songwriter Tom Petty is has been rushed to hospital having been found unconscious at his Malibu home after suffering a cardiac arrest, and the 66-year-old has been placed on life support in a seemingly unrecoverable condition.
As TMZ reported, despite EMTs finding a pulse when they arrived at his home, no brain activity was found when he arrived at the hospital. Although earlier reports claimed he had passed away after being taken off life support, TMZ has since been informed by the LAPD that despite Petty’s family placing a ‘do not resuscitate’ order on the singer, he is “still clinging to life” with a chaplain being called to his room.
Petty had just last week finished a short tour with his band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Rolling Stone notes, the band with whom he’d found his success with narrative-driven anthems like ‘I Won’t Back Down’ and ‘Free Falling” on his way to record sales in excess of 80 million and an induction into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.
He is also well known for his work in the 1980s with supergroup the Traveling Wilburys alongside Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne, and Dylan expressed his dismay in a statement this morning, having heard news of Petty’s passing.
“It’s shocking, crushing news,” he wrote, “I thought the world of Tom. He was great performer, full of the light, a friend, and I’ll never forget him.”
Releasing their self-titled debut in 1976, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers saw erratic but continued success throughout the years, most recently claiming their first ever U.S. number one album on the Billboard charts with 2014’s Hypnotic Eye.
Petty himself had also found a second wind in 1989 with his multi-platinum solo debut Full Moon Fever which, along with the popularity of the Traveling Wilburys’ first and second albums the year before and after, keptand his more recent outfit Mudcrutch, who released albums in 2008 and 2016.
Petty has two children from an earlier marriage, and a stepson with his wife Dana York.