Tom Petty, the gaunt, unassuming rocker with the sly grin, sleepy demeanor and biting voice whose decades of rock ‘n’ roll hitmaking put him among the best-selling music artists of all time, has died, TMZ reported Monday. He was 66.
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers had just wrapped their 40th Anniversary tour in Los Angeles last week. TMZ said Petty was found unresponsive late Sunday night, and though emergency responders got a pulse, he had no brain activity and was removed from life support at the hospital.
CBS News later confirmed Petty’s death with the Los Angeles Police Department. An email to Petty’s music agent was not immediately returned.
Petty dropped out of high school in the late 1960s to focus on his Gainesville, Florida-based band Mudcrutch, but it was his band Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers that broke through with “Breakdown,” the biggest hit from their 1976 self-titled album.
Petty made more than a dozen records with the Heartbreakers, a collaboration that spanned five decades and produced such monster radio hits as “American Girl,” “Refugee” and “Don’t Come Around Here No More.”
But his peak moment was his solo debut, the 1989 album Full Moon Fever, which utterly dominated radio for more than a year with huge hits “Free Fallin’,” “Won’t Back Down” and “Runnin’ Down a Dream.”
This story is developing …