Four months after Tom Petty's death, family reveals what really killed him

In October 2017, rocker Tom Petty's death shocked the world. Initial reports revealed the singer died from a cardiac arrest; new details surrounding his death have now been released by his family. 

Tom Petty (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

According to the Los Angeles county coroner's office, the Free Fallin singer died from an accidental drug overdose. An autopsy revealed that Petty had several drugs in his body, including fentanyl, oxycodone, temazepam, alprazolam, citalopram, acetylfentanyl and despropionyl fentanyl. "A lot of these are found in prescription drugs,” Brian Elias, a coroner’s officer, said.

Stevie Nicks (L) and Tom Petty perform onstage during MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Tom Petty at the Los Angeles Convention Center on February 10, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Petty's death is now believed to have resulted from multi-organ failure due to a cardiopulmonary arrest. The county coroner's office has ruled his death as an "accident." The singer reportedly suffered from artery atherosclerosis and emphysema.

 Tom Petty on June 9, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

The singer was found unconscious in his Malibu home and died in UCLA’s Santa Monica hospital on October 2. The American Girl singer had just completed a tour to mark his band, The Heartbreakers 40th anniversary on September 25. The tour came to a close with three sold out concerts at the Hollywood Bowl. He said in an interview with Rolling Stone earlier that the trip with the band would be his last one. Four months later, it seems like a prophetic statement.

Tom Petty in New York City in 2016 (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Petty's wife Dana and daughter Adria released the coroner's reports and said in their statement, "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."

 Mike Campbell and Tom Petty perform at Viejas Arena on August 3, 2014 in San Diego (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images)

"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," the statement continued. Petty's family thanked fans for their love and support for Petty and requested privacy for The Heartbreakers family during this time.

 Tom Petty and his wife in Hollywood on April 23, 2014 (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Petty did, in the past, speak of his drug related problems. In his 215 biography, he spoke of his heroin addiction, saying he tried to go cold turkey but it didn't help. "It's an ugly f***ing thing," he said.

 (L-R) Former Beatle Paul McCartney, his pregnant wife Heather Mills McCartney, Olivia Harrison, widow of former Beatle George Harrison, former Beatle Ringo Starr, Barbara Bach, musician Tom Petty, his wife Dana York and Harrison's son Dhani arrive for a special screening at the Steven J. Ross Theater at Warner Bros. Studios of the film 'Concert for George' September 24, 2003 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

The singer rose to fame in the 70s with his band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and later as a solo artist as well. His songs carried the spirit of American and bore a personal resonance with his fan base. Petty's 40-year-influence on rock music will be hard to forget.

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Rushali Pawar


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