“On behalf of the Tom Petty family, we are devastated to announce the untimely death of our father, husband, brother, leader and friend Tom Petty,” wrote Tony Dimitriades, the longtime manager of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Monday evening on tompetty.com, the official website of the band.
Dimitriades continued, “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 surrounded by family and friends.”
Writes Randy Lewis in the Los Angeles Times, Petty “rode to the pinnacle of pop music stardom with his beloved and long-running rock band the Heartbreakers, born out of the ashes of a group that flopped when he brought them from Gainesville, Fla., to California in the mid-1970s. He emerged as one of the most vocal and tireless champions of artistic integrity and musical purity in the record business.”
Lewis’ story continues, “‘It’s shocking, crushing news,’ his longtime friend and collaborator Bob Dyan said. ‘I thought the world of Tom. He was great performer, full of the light, a friend, and I’ll never forget him.’
“Petty and his mates distilled a signature sound that was as influenced as much by The Byrds as the Beatles, with the swagger of the Rolling Stones and some doses of Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and soul stirrings of Ray Charles and Sam Cooke thrown in.”
As Lewis notes — and as we reported earlier, “For hours [earlier Monday], multiple media outlets reported [Petty’s] death only to retract those reports…”
To read Lewis’ full piece, please click here.
Here are Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty singing the 1981 hit “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” from YouTube: