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Rock legend Tom Petty is fighting for his life inside a California hospital after he was discovered unresponsive inside his Malibu home. Most of the details surrounding what exactly happened are still unclear, some of which is because Petty's family hasn't yet spoken publicly about what happened and some of which is because reports circulated earlier today claiming the beloved musician had lost his battle and was dead at 66.
The unfortunate news stories began appearing on Monday afternoon. TMZ broke the news, claiming the longtime leader of the Heartbreakers had gone into cardiac arrest and was rushed to the hospital by EMTs. The outlet claimed he had lost brain function and a chaplain had been called to his room. A short time later, that report was followed by another from CBS News claiming LAPD confirmed Petty had officially died. Obituaries from outlets around the world soon began pouring in, but the LAPD later retracted its death notification, as did CBS News. Over the past several hours, outlets have understandably been a lot more cautious about reporting any news surrounding Petty. So, as far as we know, he's still in the hospital in critical condition.
Tom Petty had just wrapped up a lengthy 40th Anniversary tour that hit stops across the United States, ending at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles last Monday. Prior to the tour, Petty was already talking about being in the latter half of his sixties and not wanting to continue the road life forever. He said at the time that the 2017 tour would likely be the last big one for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Thanks to classics like "American Girl," "Mary Jane's Last Dance," "Wildflowers," "Don't Come Around Here No More," "Free Fallin," "The Waiting," "I Won't Back Down," "You Don't Know How It Feels" and more, Tom Petty dominated the rock radio landscape for years. Along the way, he picked up millions of hardcore fans and millions more casual admirers who loved a song or two. It's probably not unfair to say the history of American music has produced few acts who pleased as wide ranging of a crowd as Tom Petty.
Our thoughts go out to Tom Petty, his family and all those who loved his music during this troubling time. He was a true original, and if nothing else, the outpouring of support today has been a reminder of just how many people connected with the legendary singer's music. (Note: Tom has since passed away. You can read his obituary here.)