Tom Petty, the rocker best known as the frontman of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, has died at the age of 66, his longtime manager said late Monday.
Tony Dimitriades said in a statement that Petty suffered cardiac arrest in his home in Malibu, California early Monday and was taken to UCLA Medical Center, but couldn't be revived. He died peacefully at 8:40 p.m. PT (Pacific Time) surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends, the statement continued.
Petty rose to fame in the 1970s with his band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The group put out several hits, including "American Girl," "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," "Breakdown," "Listen to Her Heart" and more. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. Petty was also a successful solo artist and sang the megahit "Freefallin'."
Though Petty and his band debuted their first self-titled record in 1976, they continued to perform over the past four decades. Petty played his last show last Monday, performing three sold-out shows at the Hollywood Bowl to conclude their 40th anniversary tour. The band wrote on their website that the tour included 53 shows in 24 states.
In December, Petty told Rolling Stone that he thought this would be the group's last tour together. He said, "It's very likely we'll keep playing, but will we take on 50 shows in one tour? I don't think so. 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."
Petty was born and raised in Gainesville, Florida. He said he wanted to become a musician when he was 13 and saw The Beatles play on "The Ed Sullivan Show." He told Grammy.com, "This was the great moment in my life, really, that changed everything. I had been a fan up to that point. But this was the thing that made me want to play music." He added, "It did have a great profound effect on my life, and I thank them for that. I still think the Beatles [made] the best music ever, and I'm sure I'll go to my grave thinking the same thing."