Tom Petty, the American rocker who fronted one of the country’s longest-running, most successful bands, is dead at 66, according to his longtime manager.
Petty had suffered cardiac arrest at his Malibu home early Monday morning “and was taken to UCLA Medical Center but could not be revived,” Tony Dimitriades, longtime manager of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, said in a statement on behalf of the musician’s family. “He died peacefully at 8:40pm PT surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends.”
The news came hours after TMZ first reported that Petty was found unconscious in full cardiac arrest at his Malibu home. CBS News later reported his death, but the outlet walked back that report as the Los Angeles Police Department issued a statement that it had no information on Petty’s passing.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers had just concluded their 40th anniversary tour, which Petty had said would be the band’s last big, country-spanning tour.
Originally from Florida, Petty rose to fame as the frontman of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, whose 1976 self-titled debut featured his unique nasal voice and guitar work. His career, both with the band and as a solo act, spanned decades and included hits such as “Rockin’ Around (With You),” “Breakdown,” “Free Fallin’” and “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.”
The voices who celebrated Petty spanned musical genres and decades (and because of the mistaken reports, many offered their condolences before Petty actually died).
John Mayer said he covered Petty’s songs “because I wanted to know what it felt like to fly.” Shania Twain said she treasured the fond memories of their time together this past summer. Stephen King mourned “What a bad day this has been, in so many ways.”
“It’s shocking, crushing news,” Bob Dylan told Rolling Stone in a statement. “I thought the world of Tom. He was a great performer, full of the light, a friend, and I’ll never forget him.”
Here is how musicians, artists, movie directors and even the NFL reacted to news of Petty’s death.
This post will be continually updated.