Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers in 1977.

Tom Petty Died from a Prescription Drugs Overdose, His Family Hopes It Helps to Save Other Lives

Tom Petty's widow Dana Petty and daughter Adria Petty released a solemn statement about the heartbreaking cause of his death. They hope this will become a good lesson to save other people's lives.

Tom Petty’s widow, Dana, and daughter, Adria, released a solemn statement about the heartbreaking cause of his death. On October 2, 2017, Petty died at the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, California. He was 66 and he died from a toxic mixture of prescription drugs. While they are still grieving, Dana and Adria hope this will become a good lesson to save other people’s lives. It is a warning for all of us and doctors and pharmacists to be fully informed about prescriptions, and even taking supplements that could amount to a deadly mix.

“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 as a result of taking a variety of 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 and, 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 for his over use of medication.

“We knew before the report was shared with us that he was prescribed various pain medications for a multitude of issues including Fentanyl patches and we feel confident that this was, as the coroner found, an unfortunate accident.

“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 and we hope in some way this report can save lives. Many people who overdose begin with a legitimate injury or simply do not understand the potency and deadly nature of these medications.

“On a positive note we now know for certain 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.” Dana Petty and Adria Petty

Tom Petty’s unique style as a songwriter, singer and guitarist earned him generations of fans. Many original hit songs by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers are American classics and we will celebrate some of those songs below. For example, “Don’t Back Down” is the theme song for 12 Strong, the new movie about U.S. military heroes that’s playing in theaters now.

In 1976, Petty founded Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers with Mike Campbell on lead guitar, Ron Blair on bass, Stan Lynch on drums, and Benmont Tench on keyboards.

The Traveling Wilburys in May 1988. Top: Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty. Bottom: Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, and George Harrison.

Tom Petty left a legacy of 13 albums with The Heartbreakers and three solo albums.

From 1988 to 1991, he ventured out with The Traveling Wilburys and recorded two albums with them. The Wilburys were the rock superstar group of Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, and George Harrison. It seems their most popular song was “Handle with Care.”

Over the years, some band members changed. At the time of Tom Petty’s death, he and the Heartbreakers were original band mates Mike Campbell, Ron Blair, and Benmont Tench,  plus Scott Thurston on guitar, keyboards and harmonica, and Steve Ferrone on drums.

May Tom Petty rest in peace and may his surviving family and friends live in peace.

Now for some of his greatest hits. Which Tom Petty song is your favorite?

This one can be therapeutic while driving after a romance gone wrong. . .

Ringo Starr and George Harrison join Tom Petty for this song

From the NFL: “In honor of rock icon Tom Petty’s passing we look back at his Super Bowl 42 Halftime Show in 2008. RIP Tom Petty.”

Written By
Anita Crane is a writer and editor at SCENES Media.
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