Reports earlier Monday about the death of musician Tom Petty have come under scrutiny, with the Los Angeles Police Department saying that it “cannot confirm” that Petty passed away and that “initial information was inadvertantly [sic] provided to some media sources.”
The news of Petty’s apparent death was first reported by CBS News, then picked up by numerous other outlets.
Meanwhile, Access Hollywood cites two sources that provide conflicting accounts of Petty’s condition, with one saying that “he is still alive and on life support at the hospital,” and the other saying that he has died. We’ll continue to update this story as new information becomes available.
Petty was found unconscious by his wife in his Malibu home on Sunday night, according to TMZ. When first responders arrived, he was in full cardiac arrest, not breathing, but still with a pulse. Petty was rushed to UCLA Santa Monica Hospital, where he was placed on life support. According to TMZ, no brain activity was found after Petty reached the hospital, and the decision was made to turn off his life support.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers had just finished their 40th Anniversary Tour last week at the Hollywood Bowl. Later, Petty told Rolling Stone that the tour would probably his last. Reps for Petty did not immediately respond to Paste’s request for more information.
Petty was born in Gainesville, Fla., on Oct. 20, 1950. After rising through the local ranks in the bands The Epics and Mudcrutch, he went solo with his group the Heartbereakers and immediately recorded a number of songs that would prove timeless, including “Breakdown” and “American Girl.” He wouldn’t score radio hits, however, until his third album, 1979’s Damn the Torpedos, when “Refugee” entered the Top 20 in early 1980. He scored another Top 20 hit with “The Waiting,” from 1981’s “Hard Promises,” and another with “You Got Lucky,” from 1982’s Long After Dark. Three subsequent records billed as simply Tom Petty (no Heartbreakers), 1989’s Full Moon Fever, 1994’s Wildflowers and 2004’s Highway Companion, peaked in the Top 10 on the US Album Charts behind megahits like “I Won’t Back Down” and “Free Fallin’.”
You can read Paste’s list of Tom Petty’s 15 Best Songs here.
In all, Petty has released 13 albums with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and three solo records, as well as two albums with The Traveling Wilburys, a supergroup that also comprised Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne.