Tom Petty contributed considerably to the rock scene as the lead vocalist and guitarist of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. He impressed the audience with his singing voice in the hit songs like ‘Refugee.’ Petty left many hit albums between 1970 and 2010, which sold more than 80 million copies internationally. Thus, he had a place for himself among the best-selling musicians. The vocalist’s success was praised by being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
The rocker became a part of the massive 40th Anniversary Tour with the band in 2017. During the tour, he shared the same stage with fellow guest musicians Joe Walsh and Chris Stapleton. Petty had many memorable moments throughout the performances while celebrating his long-time career with the group. Unfortunately, the final show at the Hollywood Bowl, which ended with the 1976 song ‘American Girl,’ became Petty’s last appearance with the band as the rocker suddenly passed away on October 2, 2017.
The Reason Behind Tom Petty’s Sudden Death
Tom Petty’s sudden death deeply saddened his family, bandmates, names from the rock world, and the fans. Later, Petty’s family revealed the reason for the vocalist’s death was an accidental drug overdose on the band’s Facebook. His family stated that the rocker struggled with pain due to emphysema, knee problems, and a vital hip fracture.
Due to his passion for his job, he continued to perform despite his fracture, which caused worsening his health. According to Petty’s family, the vocalist had severe pain on the day he passed, leading him to take excessive medicines. The doctors reported that the mixture of morphine and antidepressant medications caused his passing because of an accidental overdose.
The musician’s family wrote on Facebook:
“Our family sat together this morning with the Medical Examiner – Coroner’s office, and we were informed of their final analysis that Tom Petty passed away due to an accidental drug overdose due to taking various medications. Unfortunately, Tom’s body suffered from many serious ailments, including emphysema, knee problems, and, most significantly, a fractured hip. Despite this painful injury, he insisted on keeping his commitment to his fans, and he toured for 53 dates with a fractured hip; as he did, it worsened to a more serious injury.
On the day he died, he was informed his hip had graduated to a full-on break, and it is our feeling that the pain was simply unbearable and was the cause of his overuse of medication. We knew before the report was shared that he was prescribed various pain medications for many issues, including Fentanyl patches, and we feel confident that this was, as the coroner found, an unfortunate accident.”
The family pointed out the importance of becoming aware of the severe side effects of using these medications. They wanted to warn people about the seriousness of this issue which could lead to one’s death. They noted that they ease their pain knowing Petty passed away painlessly. The family also added how the rocker was satisfied and happy after completing the massive 40th Anniversary Tour.
The report continued:
“As a family, we recognize this report may spark a further discussion on the opioid crisis, and we feel that it is a healthy and necessary discussion. We hope in some way this report can save lives. Many people overdose with a legitimate injury or do not understand these medications’ potency and deadly nature.
On a positive note, we now know he went painlessly and beautifully exhausted after doing what he loved the most, for one last time, performing live with his unmatchable rock band for his loyal fans on the biggest tour of his 40-plus year career. He was extremely proud of that achievement in the days before he passed.
We continue to mourn with you and marvel at Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ incredible positive impact on music and the world. And we thank you all for your love and support over the last months. Thank you also for respecting the memory of a man who was truly great during his time on this planet, both publicly and privately. We would be grateful if you could respect the privacy of the entire Heartbreaker family during this difficult time.”
The successful rocker passed away at the age of 66, leaving behind many impressive songs. Despite the pain he suffered from several health problems, Petty met his fans on a massive tour before his death. With this tour, he bid farewell to his fans and his career, happy and satisfied.