Legendary rocker Tom Petty’s death last year was due to an accidental drug overdose, his family says.
- Tom Petty was on seven different medications when he died of accidental drug overdose
- His family hopes his death sheds light on opioid crisis
- Petty was found unconscious, not breathing and in cardiac arrest in October
Petty, whose ringing guitar riffs, distinctive vocals and well-wrought everyman lyrics graced such hits as Free Fallin’ and American Girl, was found unconscious at his home on October 2 last year, and died in hospital that night.
His wife and daughter, Dana and Adria Petty, released the results of an autopsy in a statement on his Facebook page, saying coroner results showed the overdose was caused by a variety of medications.
“We knew before the report was shared with us that he was prescribed various pain medications for a multitude of issues including fentanyl patches and we feel confident that this was, as the coroner found, an unfortunate accident,” the statement said.
It was posted moments before the Los Angeles coroner’s office issued its official findings, which attributed Petty’s death to a “mixed toxicity” of fentanyl, oxycodone, generic Restoril, generic Xanax, generic Celexa, acetyl fentanyl, and despropionyl fentanyl.
The medical examiner’s report lists the manner of death as “accidental”.
Petty’s family said he had suffered from emphysema, a fractured hip and knee problems that caused him pain, but he was still committed to his 40th anniversary tour in the US.
“As he did, it worsened to a more serious injury,” the statement said.
“On the day he died he was informed his hip had graduated to a full on break and it is our feeling that the pain was simply unbearable and was the cause for his overuse of medication.”
Petty’s family said they hoped the report of his death would shed light on the opioid crisis in the US.
“Many people who overdose begin with a legitimate injury or simply do not understand the potency and deadly nature of these medications,” the statement said.
“On a positive note we now know for certain he went painlessly and beautifully exhausted after doing what he loved the most, for one last time, performing live with his unmatchable rock band for his loyal fans on the biggest tour of his 40-plus year career.
“He was extremely proud of that achievement in the days before he passed.”
Petty was born in Florida in 1950. He carved a career as a solo artist as well as with his band the Heartbreakers and as part of supergroup the Traveling Wilburys.