Rocker Tom Petty dies, aged 66

  • 03/10/2017

American rock legend Tom Petty has died, aged 66, in Los Angeles, after suffering a cardiac arrest.

The 'American Girl' hitmaker's life support was reportedly switched off, after he was rushed to hospital from his Malibu home, but he remained alive for some hours, despite media reports prematurely announcing his death.

"On behalf of the Tom Petty family, we are devastated to announce the untimely death of our father, husband, brother, leader and friend," says Tony Dimitriades, longtime manager of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, on behalf of the family.

"He suffered cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu in the early hours of this morning and was taken to UCLA Medical Center, but could not be revived. He died peacefully at 8:40pm (local time) surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends."

Petty leaves behind wife Dana and two daughters, Adria and Kimberly.

His death comes just a week after he completed a large-scale 40th anniversary tour with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

He'd stated publicly the tour would probably be his last big one, telling Rolling Stone: "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."

Petty is one of the best-selling musicians of all-time, selling more than 80 million albums throughout his career.

He dropped out of school at the age of 17 to pursue his dream of becoming a musician, joining the band Mudcrutch. As a young boy, he was inspired by the music of Elvis Presley and The Beatles.

Petty was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 and his career was filled with Billboard chart-topping hits, including 'Free Fallin', 'The Waiting', 'I Won't Back Down', 'Learning to Fly', and 'You Got Lucky'.