Though gravely ill and lingering near death, Petty was still clinging to life when CBS News incorrectly reported that he had died. His stripped-down Rickenbacker guitar sound, roots-rock and all-American themes were all it took to put him in that rarified air. But the LAPD responded on Twitter saying they have no information regarding the singer’s passing and did not have a role in the investigation.
This article will be updated as soon as we have further information.
He grew up in Florida but dropped out of school at the age of 17 to follow his music dream.
The band played at Live Aid in 1985 before breaking up in 1987.
The band’s eponymous debut album was a minor hit in the US but a smash overseas in the United Kingdom, thanks in part to the success of the hit single Refugee.
The reports led to the scheduling of a memorial at Petty’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but that was canceled.
It was the band’s third album, 1979’s Damn the Torpedoes! which saw the band enjoy their breakthrough to mainstream success. The album peaked at number three.
In total Petty has released three solo albums, 13 albums with the Heartbreakers and two with the Traveling Wilburys. It also produced produced arguably his best-known song: “Free Fallin'”.
Billboard, the music trade magazine, hedged a bit, citing a “report” in an otherwise matter-of-fact headline: “Tom Petty Dead at 66: Report”. His tour with the band wrapped a week ago and he was scheduled to play two shows in NY the second week of November. “I think that was a product of my childhood, when I had some serious abuse”, he told Uncut of growing up with his father in Gainesville. “Again, let me say this is a true honor”.
He told Rolling Stone: “We’re all on the backside of our 60s”.
“I did go through a lot of my life with a short fuse where I could erupt into a serious rage”. He toured with the Hearbreakers this spring and summer, and the group was scheduled to perform in New York City next month.
Tributes to the singer began pouring in as news broke about his health. “Without YOU there’d be no United States!”
Bob Dylan and Tom Petty performing at Athletic Park, Wellington, February 5, 1986.