Tom Petty’s family confirmed the musician’s death was caused by an accidental drug overdose in a statement on Friday.
News broke on Oct. 2 last year that the iconic guitarist had suffered from cardiac arrest in the early morning hours in his home in Malibu. Petty was then rushed to UCLA Medical Center, but was unable to be revived. He was 66-years-old.
Friday’s letter, which was posted to the official Facebook page for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers as well as Petty’s website, went into great detail of the events which unfolded to cause Petty’s death.
According to the post, which was penned by Dana and Adria Petty, Tom’s wife and daughter, respectively, the guitarist “suffered from many serious ailments including emphysema, knee problems and most significantly a fractured hip.” Petty continued to tour with his band despite his injuries, which led his fractured hip to a full-on break, which Tom discovered on the day of his passing.
“It is our feeling that the pain was simply unbearable and was the cause for his over use of medication,” the post reads.
As the opioid crisis continues to devastate nearly every region of the United States, the family used the opportunity to recognize that Petty’s passing may help further the conversation surrounding opioid abuse.
“As a family we recognize this report may spark a further discussion on the opioid crisis and we feel that it is a healthy and necessary discussion and we hope in some way this report can save lives,” the letter reads. “Many people who overdose begin with a legitimate injury or simply do not understand the potency and deadly nature of these medications.”
The entire statement can be read in full, below.
Our family sat together this morning with the Medical Examiner – Coroner’s office and we were informed of their final analysis that Tom Petty passed away due to an accidental drug overdose as a result of taking a variety of medications.
Unfortunately Tom’s body suffered from many serious ailments including emphysema, knee problems and most significantly a fractured hip.
Despite this painful injury he insisted on keeping his commitment to his fans and he toured for 53 dates with a fractured hip and, as he did, it worsened to a more serious injury.
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 over use of medication.
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.
As a family we recognize this report may spark a further discussion on the opioid crisis and we feel that it is a healthy and necessary discussion and we hope in some way this report can save lives. Many people who overdose begin with a legitimate injury or simply do not understand the potency and deadly nature of these medications.
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.
We continue to mourn with you and marvel at Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ incredible positive impact on music and the world. And we thank you all for your love and support over the last months.
Thank you also for respecting the memory of a man who was truly great during his time on this planet both publicly and privately.
We would be grateful if you could respect the privacy of the entire Heartbreaker family during this difficult time.
Dana Petty and Adria Petty
According to the Center for Disease Control, opioids killed more than 42,000 people in 2016, which was more than any year on record. The center also notes that 40 percent of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid.
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