American rocker Tom Petty has died aged 66 following a heart attack. He was found unconscious at his home in Malibu early on Monday morning and was taken to UCLA Medical Center but could not be revived.
“We are devastated to announce the untimely death of our father, husband, brother, leader and friend Tom Petty,” his long-time manager Tony Dimitriades said in a statement. Petty had the band The Heartbreakers formed in the mid 1970s and also was part of supergroup The Traveling Wilburys. The Heartbreakers last played three dates in late September at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles and was scheduled to perform two dates in New York in November.
“Music, as far as I have seen in the world so far, is the only real magic that I know,” Petty once said. In his career, Petty sold more than 80 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. In 2002, Petty was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was an Elvis Presley fan. “I had been a big fan of Elvis. But I really saw in the Beatles that here's something I could do. I knew I could do it,” he confessed. Hits as “Refugee,” “Free Fallin’” and “American Girl are well known and remain a big success. Petty's first appearance in film took place in 1978. He appeared in several episodes of It's Garry Shandling's Show between 1987 and 1990, in the 1997 film The Postman and even in The Simpsons. Petty spoke in 2014 of the benefits from his practice of Transcendental Meditation. Peter Bogdanovich made a documentary film on Petty's career entitled Runnin' Down a Dream, which was premiered at the New York Film Festival on October 14, 2007.