Rock star, Petty dies at 66

Rock star Tom Petty, 66, has been reported to have died of cardiac arrest by his manager, Tony Dimitriades.

He was found in critical condition at his home in Malibu, Calif., Sunday night after suffering full cardiac arrest.

It was first reported by the website TMZ that Petty was taken to UCLA Santa Monica Hospital, where he died on Monday at 11:40 p.m. ET.

Petty was a widely lauded songwriter, singer, multi-instrumentalist and record producer.

Petty had just concluded his 40th anniversary tour with his band, The Heartbreakers, on Sept. 25 in Los Angeles.

Petty was born and raised in Gainesville, Fla.; as he told Terry Gross on WHYY’s Fresh Air in 2006.

He was from what he called the “redneck, hillbilly” part of town.

“It’s an interesting place,” he remarked, “because you can meet almost any kind of person from many walks of life because of the university.

But it’s really surrounded by this kind of very rural kind of people that are — you know, they’re farmers or, you know, tractor drivers or, you know, just all kinds of — game wardens, you name it, you know. So it’s an interesting blend.

My family wasn’t involved in the college, you know. They were more of just your white trash kind of … family.

And so I have that kind of background, but I always kind of aspired to be something else, and I made a lot of different friends over the years that were — you know, passing through.”

After being part of an early band called Mudcrutch, he first came to fame with his own band.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers recorded its eponymous debut in 1976, an album that included two songs that became core songs in the rock ‘n’ roll canon: “Breakdown” and “American Girl.”

The band released two more albums in quick succession: 1978’s You’re Gonna Get It! which went gold, and 1979’s Damn The Torpedoes, which included the group’s first Top 10 single, “Don’t Do Me Like That,” and “Refugee.”




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