UPDATE: The LAPD now says it “inadvertently provided” confirmation of Petty’s death to media outlets, and Petty is currently reported to be “clinging to life.”
Tom Petty, the legendary rock musician who sold tens of millions of albums across a five-decade career, has died at the age of 66.
Petty was found unconscious in his Malibu home on Sunday night, and was rushed to a local hospital in full cardiac arrest. He was admitted to the hospital in critical condition, and ultimately was taken off life support on Monday, our sister site Variety has confirmed.
One of classic rock’s most enduring icons, Petty released a string of hits — “Don’t Do Me Like That,” “The Waiting,” “You Got Lucky” — with his band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. His solo 1989 release, Full Moon Fever, served up more hits like “Free Fallin'” and “I Won’t Back Down.” He also teamed up with fellow rock legends Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne to form the 1980s supergroup the Traveling Wilburys.
Petty dabbled in acting on the small screen, voicing Luanne’s husband Elroy “Lucky” Kleinschmidt in 28 episodes of the Fox cartoon King of the Hill. He also played himself in episodes of The Larry Sanders Show and The Simpsons. His music was a big inspiration to TV writers as well: Nearly every episode of Cougar Town was named after a Petty song, and co-creator Kevin Biegel memorialized Petty on Twitter.
I only have real genuine love for a few artists. Tom Petty is one of them. I'm sure many feel this way. A very very sad day just got sadder.
— kevinbiegel (@kbiegel) October 2, 2017
Plus, Petty’s classic tune “American Girl” was a staple of TV montages, including one on Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale and this memorable one from Scrubs: