Fame and celebrity

Tom Petty died from an accidental drug overdose, says family

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 January, 2018, 12:02am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 January, 2018, 12:02am

Tom Petty’s family has said his death last year was due to an ­accidental drug overdose.

His wife and daughter released the results of Petty’s autopsy via a statement on his Facebook page on Friday night. Dana and Adria Petty said they got the results from the coroner’s office, saying the overdose was caused due to several medications.

They said Petty had emphysema, a fractured hip and knee problems that caused him pain, but was still committed to touring. On the day he died, his hip had graduated to a “full-on break” and they believed “the pain was simply ­unbearable and was the cause for his overuse of medication”.

“As a family we recognise this report may spark a further discussion on the opioid crisis and we feel that is a healthy and necessary discussion and we hope in some way this report can save lives,” the statement said. “Many people who overdose begin with a legitimate injury or simply do not understand the potency and deadly nature of these medications.”

Petty had wrapped up a tour a few days before he died in October at age 66.

Petty had previously suggested that the 40th anniversary tour could be his last, telling Rolling Stone in an interview: “We’re all on the backside of our 60s. 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.”

A Petty biography published in 2015 revealed that he had a heroin addiction in the 1990s.

He also had depression. The singer-songwriter and guitarist, who sold more than 80 million ­records worldwide, soared to fame in the 1970s with his band the Heartbreakers.

When announcing his death last year, his family said he died peacefully surrounded by his friends, family and bandmates.

The family’s statement on ­Friday added: “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.”