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Tom Petty Heartbreaker: Ailing Singer Died by Drug Overdose, Autopsy Says

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Tom Petty died from an accidental drug overdose.
He was using a variety of medical prescriptions to treat a broken hip, according to the autopsy report. (Photo: Getty)

Tom Petty, the irascible rock star who made history with his band the Heartbreakers, died from an accidental drug overdose caused by a “variety of medications,” according to his family.

Wife Dana Petty and daughter Adria Petty said the family met with the medical examiner this morning (Jan. 19) to hear the results of the autopsy.

Among the drugs found in his system were Fentanyl, oxycodone and generic Xanax, generic Restoril (a sleep aid) and generic Celexa (which treats depression), according to the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner.

“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,” they said in a statement posted on the band’s Facebook page.

“Unfortunately Tom’s body suffered from many serious ailments including emphysema, knee problems and most significantly a fractured hip,” the statement continued.

“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,” they added.

“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.”

Petty, 66, had been prescribed numerous pain medications, including Fentanyl patches, the combination of which led to the fatal accident, the coroner concluded.

The opioid crisis is sweeping the nation and Petty was caught up in it.

“Many people who overdose begin with a legitimate injury or simply do not understand the potency and deadly nature of these medications,” the statement noted.

The statement added:

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 hard-rocking front-man suffered bouts of drug and alcohol addiction in the 1990s. He was discovered at his Malibu home in October, suffering from cardiac arrest.

Petty was rushed to UCLA Santa Monica Hospital by para-medics who were called to his home after receiving reports that he was unconscious and not breathing.

His life support was reportedly pulled after he showed no signs of brain activity.

Petty and his band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. It is known for such hits as “American Girl,” “Free Fallin’,” “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” “Breakdown,” “Listen to Her Heart” and more.

Petty played his last show on Monday (Sept. 25) and gave no indication he was in ill health. He performing three sold-out shows at the Hollywood Bowl to mark the band’s 40th anniversary.

The tour was full-blown, including 53 shows in 24 states. Petty told Rolling Stone last December it was likely the group’s last major tour.


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