Tom Petty, rock musician and vocalist of The Heartbreakers, dies at 66 after cardiac arrest

By AFP

New York: Rocker Tom Petty died on Monday, 2 October, after suffering cardiac arrest, his family confirmed, hours after news organisations retracted unconfirmed reports of his death.

Tom Petty. Image from Facebook/@tompetty

"On behalf of the Tom Petty family we are devastated to announce the untimely death of our father, husband, brother, leader and friend Tom Petty," a family statement said.

Petty — the singer with his band The Heartbreakers of hits such as 'I Won't Back Down' and 'Free Fallin' — suffered cardiac arrest early Monday at his home in Malibu, the family said.

He was taken to a Los Angeles hospital but could not be revived and at 8:40 pm (0340 GMT) "died peacefully... surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends," the statement said.

Celebrity news site TMZ and network CBS had earlier reported that he had already died, triggering an outraged denial from Petty's daughter.

The rocker's daughter, artist Annakim Violette Petty, flatly denied he was dead and lashed out at Rolling Stone, which ran an obituary of Petty complete with a quote from rock legend Bob Dylan.

"How dare you report that my father has died just to get press because your articles and photos are so dated?" she wrote in a profanity-laden Instagram post along with an image of Tom Petty on a 1979 cover. But she suggested in other posts that her father was indeed facing health issues.