PRAY FOR PETTY

Beloved rocker’s condition un­clear after me­dia out­let an­nounces his ‘death’

24 Hours Vancouver - - FRONT PAGE -

At press time, rock leg­end Tom Petty is cling­ing to life in a Los Angeles hos­pi­tal, ac­cord­ing to TMZ. Ear­lier in the day, CBS re­ported that the mu­si­cian had died based on a LAPD re­port, which has since been clar­i­fied.

The 66-year-old I Won’t Back Down singer, who fronted Tom Petty and the Heart­break­ers, was found un­con­scious at his home and taken to the UCLA Santa Mon­ica Hos­pi­tal on Sun­day night, ac­cord­ing to TMZ.

Once ad­mit­ted, Petty was re­port­edly put on life sup­port.

Born in Gainesville, Fla., Petty dropped out of high school at 17 in or­der to join Mud­crutch, a band he re­formed a decade ago. The group fea­tured fu­ture Heart­break­ers: Mike Camp­bell and Ben­mont Tench.

After the band split, Petty put a solo ca­reer on hold to form the Heart­break­ers with Camp­bell, Tench, bassist Ron Blair and drum­mer Stan Lynch. The group fol­lowed that up with You’re Gonna Get It! and Damn the Tor­pe­does, which ce­mented Tom Petty and the Heart­break­ers’ place at the fore­front of the Amer­i­can pop-rock ex­plo­sion.

Petty also tasted suc­cess away from the Heart­break­ers when he joined pals Bob Dy­lan, Jeff Lynne, and Ge­orge Har­ri­son in the Trav­el­ing Wil­burys in the late 1980s, and he en­joyed a string of solo hits from his 1989 al­bum Full Moon Fever. They in­cluded I Won’t Back Down and Free Fallin’.

He re­turned as the full­time leader of the Heart­break­ers in 1991 and the band re­cently wrapped up a 40thanniver­sary tour with a string of head­line shows.

Petty’s pro­fes­sional suc­cess has been marred by a hand­ful of per­sonal is­sues, in­clud­ing the 1996 di­vorce from his wife of 22 years, Jane Benyo.

He was also told he’d never play the guitar again after smash­ing his left hand through a wall in frus­tra­tion dur­ing a record­ing ses­sion in the mid-1980s, shat­ter­ing his fin­gers. He fa­mously re­counted his re­cov­ery in 1986 con­cert film Pack Up the Plan­ta­tion, ex­plain­ing he got his strength back by per­form­ing his fan favourite The Wait­ing.

Petty bat­tled record la­bel bosses through the years, too — his life and ca­reer were doc­u­mented in ac­tor/di­rec­tor Peter Bog­danovich’s epic 2007 doc­u­men­tary Tom Petty and the Heart­break­ers: Run­nin’ Down a Dream.

Rocker Tom Petty was found un­con­scious at his home on Sun­day night, ac­cord­ing to a re­port.

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