Tom Petty Cause of Death Determined Accidental Overdose [Update]

via Jerod Harris/Getty Images

UPDATE (1.22.17, 9:24 a.m.): Tom Petty’s family revealed on Friday that the singer died from an accidental overdose. They met with the medical examiner, who told them Petty had a variety of medications in his system at the time of death, including the dangerous opiate fentanyl—the same substance that contributed to rapper Lil Peep and Prince’s deaths. Petty was dealing with numerous ailments just before his passing, including emphysema, knee problems, and a fractured hip. On the day of his death, Petty found out his hip had worsened to a full-on break, and his family believes that this information, paired with significant pain led to an accidental overdose. You can read a full statement from Tom Petty’s family below.


UPDATE (10.3.17, 9:00 a.m.): Tom Petty has died at age 66, his longtime manager Tony Dimitriades confirmed. In a statement shared across the singer’s social media accounts last night, he revealed that Petty died on Monday night at 8:40 p.m. PST “surrounded by family, his bandmates, and friends.” Dimitriades writes in the statement: “On behalf of the Tom Petty family, we are devastated to announce the untimely death of our father, husband, leader, and friend, Tom Petty.”

This follows a day of conflicting reports. TMZ first reported that he was rushed to UCLA Santa Monica Hospital and pulled from life support after being found unconscious, not breathing, and in full cardiac arrest. Shortly after, CBS confirmed his death—which was eventually retracted by their sources at the LAPD. TMZ amended their report to indicate that Petty was “still clinging to life.”

UPDATE (10.2.17, 5:00 p.m.): According to TMZ, initial LAPD reports of Tom Petty’s death were inaccurate. They write that his family has a do not resuscitate order on him and Petty is reportedly “still clinging to life.” CBS News has now tweeted that the LAPD cannot confirm reports that Petty has passed.


CBS has confirmed that Tom Petty, the beloved and influential American singer and songwriter, is dead at 66. He was found unconscious, not breathing, and in full cardiac arrest on Sunday night, as TMZ first reported. Petty was rushed to the UCLA Santa Monica Hospital that night. TMZ’s sources shared that Petty had no brain activity when he arrived at the hospital, and the decision was made to pull life support. Earlier this afternoon, TMZ was in touch with Petty’s camp, who were “clearly upset,” but not providing specifics.


Petty recently capped an extensive North American tour. His final shows were a three-night residency at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

The heartland rocker, who was born in Gainesville, Florida, rose to prominence in the 1970s with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. He strung together a remarkable run of hits into the ‘80s and ‘90s, including “Don’t Do Me Like That,” “American Girl,” “Free Fallin’,” “I Won’t Back Down,” and more. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, and released their final album, Hypnotic Eye, in 2014.

Share This Story