Tom Petty died Monday of a cardiac arrest in Los Angeles, CBS News confirms. He was 66.
Petty was found unconscious and not breathing in his Malibu home Sunday night after suffering a full cardiac arrest, TMZ reports. Law enforcement officials tell the outlet that the rock legend was rushed to UCLA Santa Monica Hospital where he was put on life support and his pulse returned. Later the decision was reportedly made to remove him from life support after it was found that he was lacking brain activity.
Los Angeles County Fire Department officials confirm to PEOPLE that they were dispatched to the Malibu home of an unconscious male around 10:45 p.m. on Sunday night and transported him to a local hospital. The Blast confirmed a 66-year-old man was transported from an address matching Petty’s.
Born and raised in Gainesville, Florida, Petty — who recently wrapped a North American tour — dropped out of high school to pursue music with his band Mudcrutch, which included future Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers members Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench.
Petty’s first albums were rowdy enough to be shoehorned in with the emerging crop of punk and new wave bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s, but despite the Heartbreakers’ Gainesville-honed bar-band swagger, Petty’s sensibilities were equally folksy and country-inflected. The band actually broke through in England, where their success provided a push for the group’s self-titled debut; essential Petty cuts like “Breakdown” and “American Girl” became radio hits.
Petty’s Damn the Torpedoes was his breakthrough in 1979, with “Don’t Do Me Like That” and “Refugee” both Top 40 hits (Torpedoes peaked at number two on the Billboard 200 albums chart). Two years later, Hard Promises provided another hit with “The Waiting,” and Petty achieved another hit with “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” a duet with Stevie Nicks.
Petty and the Heartbreakers spent 1986 touring with Dylan, who, though at that time long out of his period of country-tinged, jangly folk-rock that was his clearest link to Petty’s sound, was a clear influence on Petty, and the two men became friends, joining forces in the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys, which also featured George Harrison, Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynne.
Petty started a commercial run in 1989 that propelled his career through larger shifts in the music landscape, like grunge’s rapid ascent. Produced by Lynne and featuring the support of most…