Everyone is thinking fondly of rock great Tom Petty, who died Monday evening, his manager confirmed. Petty was rushed to the hospital Sunday from his Malibu home in cardiac arrest. He was 66.
TMZ first reported the emergency — including posting video of a 911 call made by Petty’s wife Dana York, who said he wasn’t breathing — which was picked up by news outlets that erroneously reported Petty died. Soon after, the Los Angeles Police Department issued a statement saying “initial information was inadvertently provided to some media sources.”
Meanwhile, social media went wild, with friends including John Mayer, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Stephen King and Billy Idol among those expressing sorrow.
On Monday afternoon, TMZ said Petty, 66, registered no brain activity, life support had been pulled and a chaplain had been called.
Meanwhile, an Instagram account called @dadlivesmatteronelove, attributed to Petty’s daughter Annakim Violette, attacked Rolling Stone for pronouncing Petty dead without confirmation.
While the publication may have been premature, its eulogy captures spirit of the rocker, who came to fame with his band The Heartbreakers and had solo success with hits including “I Won’t Back Down” and “Free Fallin’.”
Petty, who dropped out of high school at 17, first formed the band Mudcrutch in Gainesville, Fla., and truly broke into the scene at 26 with Heartbreakers’ hits “Breakdown” and “American Girl,” which became staples of rock radio. In the early 1980s, he hit with “The Waiting” and “You Got Lucky.”
Following a stint in the Traveling Wilburys (with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne), Petty began a solo career, which spawned singles like “Runnin’ Down a Dream.”
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, Petty’s last concert was Sept. 25 at the Hollywood Bowl, the final of three sold-out shows commemorating The Heartbreakers’ 40th anniversary on a 53-date tour.
The rocker, who married his second wife York in 2001, credited her with helping him get clean. He was married to Jane Benyo from 1974 to 1996; his older daughter Adria Petty is a filmmaker.
RIP DJ STEF
Friends and fans on social media including rhettmatic and Lyrics Born are remembering the Bay Area’s Stephanie Ornelas (aka DJ Stef) who died at 55 on Sunday of an apparent heart attack. The veteran of the local hip-hop scene also was a writer, designer and founder of Vinyl Exchange, a newsletter about record collecting.
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