Tom Petty, one of history’s most consummate rock n’ roll rebels, died Monday night.
On Sunday, EMTs found the 66-year-old Grammy-winning singer unconscious in his Malibu home. He had suffered a cardiac arrest. They were unable to get a pulse before admitting him to UCLA Santa Monica Hospital. According to TMZ, Petty had no brain activity upon his arrival at the hospital. CBS originally confirmed Petty’s death earlier in they day, but later retracted the story after it turned out he was still on life support clinging to life. After several hours of struggle, he succumbed to death at 8:40 p.m.
Petty rose to fame in the ’70s with his band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (i.e. the greatest bar rock band of all time). They put out several hits that became rock radio staples, including “Free Fallin’,” “American Girl,” “Breakdown,” “Listen to Her Heart.” The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
Petty’s played what turned out to be his final show last Monday, part of a sold-out three-night stint at the Hollywood Bowl to conclude the Heartbreakers’ 40th anniversary tour. In December, Petty told Rolling Stone that he felt this would be the group’s last tour together. “It’s very likely we’ll keep playing, but will we take on 50 shows in one tour? I don’t think so,” he said. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was thinking this might be the last big one. We’re all on the backside of our sixties. I have a granddaughter now I’d like to see as much as I can. I don’t want to spend my life on the road. This tour will take me away for four months. With a little kid, that’s a lot of time.”
It was a shitty weekend and it’s turning out to be a shitty week. The thinkpieces will come. But right now, we’re just waiting for this all to sink in — and for things to get better, and for some sense of normalcy to return to everyday life.
Tom said it best: the waiting is the hardest part.