Only a few weeks short of his 67th birthday, Tom Petty died on October 2 after suffering full cardiac arrest on Sunday night.
The legendary rocker, who reportedly was taken off life support and whose family signed a do not resuscitate order on Monday, was found unresponsive at his Malibu home.
According to TMZ, the icon was rushed to a Westwood hospital but did not recover.
Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers are a global phenomenon. The storied band has been on the world stage for four decades, most recently presenting this year’s summer tour that had been dubbed their last trip around the country.
Florida born and bred, Tom Petty started making musical waves beginning in the late 1970s with hits like American Girl and with a voice and look that had fans swooning.
Those days, the singer wore his blonde hair in a Beatle’s bob (the Fab 4 were his inspiration as was Elvis whom he met when he was 10) and he often performed behind aviator shades, although that never seemed to be a pretentious sartorial choice.
Petty’s climb up the charts began long before that success. In fact, he was a high school dropout who preferred the life of a musician, joining Madcrunch, a Southern rock group. They relocated to L.A. only a few years later only to break up.
Then, in 1975, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers was formed with a UK tour bringing the band international attention. In 1988, Petty became part of the Traveling Wilburys, a celebrated all-star group that included George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne.
His credits, which include hit songs like Here Comes My Girl, The Waiting, Free Fallin’ and Stop Dragging’ My Heart, far exceed his work as a singer.
In fact, Petty has appeared on TV many times. He was cast on It’s Garry Shandling’s Show and The Larry Sanders Show and he played a local mayor in the Kevin Costner 1997 flick, The Postman. In 2002, this limitless talent voiced a Simpson’s character opposite Homer.
Awards and accolades for Tom Petty have been granted all over the place, arguably the most notable of which was his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Heartbreakers in 2002.
Tom Petty may be gone but his distinctive brand of music lives on. We wish his family and friends our deepest condolences.