Tom Petty Dead At 66: A Look At The Rocker’s Music And Charitable Legacy

"It's shocking, crushing news. I thought the world of Tom."

Tom Petty, a rock legend best known for hits like "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" (with Stevie Nicks), as well as "I Won't Back Down," "American Girl," and "Free Fallin' " with The Heartbreakers in addition to a successful solo career, has died. He was 66 years old.


TMZ was first to report that Petty — whose career spans four decades — was rushed to the hospital Sunday night after being found unconscious, not breathing, and in full cardiac arrest. A pulse was restored upon getting him to the UCLA Santa Monica Hospital and he was put on life support. After showing no brain activity, the decision was made to take him off. His manager, Tony Dimitriades, officially announced his death Monday evening.

This news comes just a week after the singer, songwriter, and guitarist concluded a tour to celebrate 40 years with The Heartbreakers — a sold-out show capping off three nights at the Hollywood Bowl — taking place last Monday.

The Florida-born musician released 13 albums with The Heartbreakers in addition to three solo albums, won three Grammys and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 with the band. Aside from creating music — and being a staunch defender of a musician's right to have artistic control and artistic freedom — Petty was known for supporting numerous important causes.

He and The Heartbreakers played at Live Aid back in 1985, he has supported the homeless by working with organizations such as Midnight Mission, he has raised money to promote music education for children by working with Safety Harbor Kids, and was the MusiCares Foundation's Person of the Year for 2017. This is just a taste of Petty's legacy.

Given the freshness of this devastating news, the music world is just beginning to pay tribute to one of the best-selling musical artists of all time. Bob Dylan — who was in the '80s supergroup The Traveling Wilburys with Petty — issued the following statement to Rolling Stone: "It's shocking, crushing news. I thought the world of Tom. He was a great performer, full of the light, a friend, and I'll never forget him."

Here are a few more reactions:

Cover image via Jack Fordyce / Shutterstock


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