Veteran rocker Tom Petty, best known for hits such as Free Fallin and American Girl, died on Monday in the US (local time, Tuesday afternoon NZT) after he was found unconscious and in cardiac arrest. He was 66.
Petty suffered cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu early on Monday morning and was taken to UCLA Medical Center but could not be revived, his long-time manager Tony Dimitriades said in a statement.
“We are devastated to announce the untimely death of our father, husband, brother, leader and friend Tom Petty,” Dimitriades said on behalf of the family.
Tom Petty had said he began working on music in earnest after seeing the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964.
And in his successes, Petty also suffered dark periods during a career spanning five decades.
A 2015 biography of the singer, Petty: The Biography, revealed for the first time the rocker’s heroin addiction in the 1990s.
Petty also suffered from depression, channelling his pain into 1999s Echo, during which he was also dealing with a divorce. In 2002, he married Dana York and told Reuters that he had been in therapy for six years to deal with depression.
“It’s a funny disease because it takes you a long time to really come to terms with the fact that you’re sick – medically sick, you’re not just suddenly going out of your mind,” he said at the time.
Rest in peace to a legend of rock.