Rock legend Tom Petty, who was well-known as the lead singer of “Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers” and as a member of the 1980s supergroup the “Traveling Wilburys,” died Monday after suffering cardiac arrest. He was 66 years old.
Petty was found unconscious and not breathing at his home in Malibu near Los Angeles at about 10:45 p.m. PT on Sunday, according to a recording of his wife’s call to 911. She tried to perform CPR but told dispatchers a short time later that she noticed “very slight” breathing.
Petty was in critical condition when he was rushed to UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, where he was put on life support. Doctors later determined that there was no brain activity and his family ultimately decided to withdraw life support, according to entertainment news website TMZ.
“On behalf of the Tom Petty family, we are devastated to announce the untimely death of our father, husband, brother, leader and friend,” Tony Dimitriades, the singer’s longtime manager and a close friend, said in a statement. He said Petty died at 8:40 p.m. while surrounded by his family, bandmates, and friends.
Hours earlier, the Los Angeles Police Department erroneously told journalists that Petty had died, but the agency later retracted its report, saying it had no information about the singer’s condition. “We apologize for any inconvenience in this reporting,” the agency said on Twitter.
The report caused widespread confusion as news organizations reported that Petty had died while representatives of the singer were not available to provide clarification. Dimitriades confirmed hours later that Petty had passed away.
“It’s shocking, crushing news,” Petty’s friend and “Traveling Wilburys” bandmate Bob Dylan said, as quoted by Rolling Stone magazine. “I thought the world of Tom. He was a great performer, full of the light, a friend, and I’ll never forget.”
Petty scored a number of hits throughout his career, which spanned about 47 years. He became one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 80 million records. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
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