R.I.P. Tom Petty
The iconic leader of the Heartbreakers was 66
UPDATE (10/3, 12:52 a.m. EDT): Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers manager Tony Dimitriades has confirmed Petty's passing. "On behalf of the Tom Petty family, we are devastated to announce the untimely death of of our father, husband, brother, leader and friend Tom Petty," he said in a statement. "He suffered cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu in the early hours of this morning and was taken to UCLA Medical Center but could not be revived. He died peacefully at 8:40 p.m. PT surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends."
UPDATE (10/2, 5:40 p.m. EDT): There are now conflicting reports in regards to Petty's death, with CBS backtracking on its initial story that Petty had died earlier today. While first citing the LAPD confirming his passing, the police department has now stated it has not confirmed the musician's death to anyone, according to The Hollywood Reporter. TMZ also reports that Petty is "still clinging to life" but not expected to survive the day.
Born in Gainesville, FL, in 1950, Petty first had a hand in forming Mudcrutch in 1970. Though their local following was strong, the band split up only five years later, with Petty, guitarist Mike Campbell and keyboardist Benmont Tench forming the Heartbreakers in 1976 with fellow Gainesville musicians Stan Lynch (drums) and Ron Blair (bass).
The band delivered their self-titled debut as Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers that same year. Though it received little attention in the United States upon its release, singles "American Girl" and "Breakdown" went on to become rock radio staples that can still be heard on the airwaves today.
Petty and the Heartbreakers found further success upon releasing their sophomore LP You're Gonna Get It! in 1978 and Damn the Torpedoes in 1979, the latter of which spawned staples "Don't Do Me Like That" and "Refugee." The 1980s saw the band deliver four more full-lengths: Hard Promises (1981), Long After Dark (1982), Southern Accents (1985) and Let Me Up (I've Had Enough) (1987).
In 1988, Petty became a member of the Traveling Wilburys, a supergroup that also included ex-Beatle George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, and Electric Light Orchestra's Jeff Lynne. The following year, he released Full Moon Fever, a record billed as his first solo effort that featured beloved hits "I Won't Back Down," "Free Fallin'" and "Runnin' Down a Dream."
Petty got back together with the Heartbreakers in 1991 to release Into the Great Wide Open. The band also delivered a Greatest Hits collection in 1993, featuring single "Mary Jane's Last Dance" and a cover of Thunderclap Newman's "Something in the Air."
Petty then released a second solo album titled Wildflowers in 1994, marking a move to Warner Bros. from MCA. The Rick Rubin-produced effort sold over three million copies in the United States, featuring hits "You Don't Know How It Feels" and "You Wreck Me." Petty and the Heartbreakers provided the soundtrack to Edward Burns' film She's the One in 1996, before recording Echo with Rubin at the helm once more in 1999.
The band released The Last DJ in 2002, which featured Petty turning his lyrical pen towards the music industry for some scathing critique through song. Petty released his third solo disc Highway Companion in 2006 before reforming Mudcrutch in 2007. He released a self-titled LP with his old group in 2008, before releasing Mojo and Hypnotic Eye with the Heartbreakers in 2010 and 2014, respectively. A second album with Mudcrutch followed in 2016.
Petty and the Heartbreakers had most recently wrapped a lengthy tour in celebration of their 40th anniversary as a group, which was also marked by the release of two career-spanning box sets.
Find reaction to Petty's passing from industry figures and fans below.
RIP Tom Petty— Ryan Adams (@TheRyanAdams) October 2, 2017
Thank you for giving so much, a lifetime of inspiration and love. Your music has changed this world for the better. pic.twitter.com/jZsjIN5Xu3
No! We have lost Tom Petty. From our opening act in the seventies to becoming a brilliant songwriter and performer I have loved his music. pic.twitter.com/yhyPCfm2l6— Paul Stanley (@PaulStanleyLive) October 2, 2017
Shocked to hear about Tom Petty dying. RIP— Charlie Daniels (@CharlieDaniels) October 2, 2017
I hope Tom Petty is not actually dead and makes a full recovery to see all the kind, sweet things you are are saying about him. What a life. ❤️— Neko Case (@NekoCase) October 2, 2017
I can't think of an important moment in my life without an accompanying Tom Petty song. Every night we walk off stage to his music. So sad.— Jason IsBOO (@JasonIsbell) October 2, 2017
Damn ....Tom Petty I remember standing backstage w him & he tells me 'Go Get Em at a. Presentation #rockAnointed— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) October 2, 2017
Tom Petty. One of the greatest songwriters of our generation.Thank you for ALL the music.Prayers to your family & band members.#RIPTomPetty— Nikki Sixx (@NikkiSixx) October 2, 2017
I am so grateful for Tom Petty's music.— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) October 2, 2017
Feels selfish to want more, but I always will. Rest in peace. https://t.co/EBOt6J38zx
I've just heard the news about Tom petty....I can't fully comprehend this news. Tom petty was everything to me. I'm devastated.— lanzo (@babyhaim) October 2, 2017
tom petty changed my life. there is a reference to him in everything i've ever written. i love his work and life.— jackantonoff (@jackantonoff) October 2, 2017
RIP Tom Petty. Thanks for all the great rockin' music, hard to believe you're gone.— Bryan Adams (@bryanadams) October 2, 2017
Damn it. NO! Tom Petty got me thru this morning....— Colin Hanks (@ColinHanks) October 2, 2017
.@TomPetty... I love you so much. You are in my prayers.— Sheryl Crow (@SherylCrow) October 2, 2017
Sending love to Tom Petty and his family at this difficult time.— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) October 2, 2017
"I wanna write her name in the sky— Travis Barker (@travisbarker) October 3, 2017
I'm gonna free fall out into nothing
Gonna leave this world for a while" Rest in peace Tom Petty 💔
A few quick words on Tom Petty, from the back of the van, somewhere in rural Missouri pic.twitter.com/NBJ08yGByr— Steve Sladkowski (@sladkow) October 2, 2017
I loved Tom Petty and I covered his songs because I wanted know what it felt like to fly.— John Mayer (@JohnMayer) October 2, 2017
"you belong somewhere you feel free."
man i really love tom petty. + i hate guns. + please donate time/$$$ to puerto rico and virgin islands. oh + neil young better live forever— Cloud Nothings (@cloudnothings) October 2, 2017
Tom Petty gone? That's just so wrong. What a bad day this has been, in so many ways.— Stephen King (@StephenKing) October 2, 2017
Get Tom Petty's Greatest Hits on vinyl via MusicVaultz.
"Music is probably the only real magic I have encountered in my life... It's pure and it's real. It moves, it heals..." - Tom Petty pic.twitter.com/Aq2Ed0CF1T— Stroumboulopoulos (@strombo) October 2, 2017