The world fare wells a beloved mu­sic leg­end

Woman’s Day (NZ) - - Celebrity News -

He was a skinny blond singer who burst on to the ’70s mu­sic scene with rock an­thems like “I Won’t Back Down”. Now Tom Petty has taken his fi­nal breath. At the age of 66, the le­gendary mu­si­cian thought he had years – if not decades – left to kick back, en­joy life and dote on his new grand­daugh­ter. But fate had other plans, with Tom dy­ing of a heart at­tack at his Los Angeles home last week.

Like so many good rock ’n’ roll sto­ries, Tom’s started with ElvisE Pres­ley. Grow­ing up in Florida,F his life changed for­ever ata age 11, when The King camec to town to shoot his moviem Fol­low that Dream. The young­stery got to meet him anda later re­called, “I caught theth fever that day and I never gotg rid of it.”

A year later, his par­ents boughtb him a gui­tar and, in­spiredin by The Bea­tles, Tom formedfo his own band. He ex­plained, “There was the way to do it. You get your friends and you’re a self-con­tained unit. It looked so much fun.”

By 20, he was per­form­ing in a group called Mud­crutch. Four years later, Tom mar­ried his teen sweet­heart Jane Benyo – with whom he had two daugh­ters, artist Anna Kim and film di­rec­tor Adria.

Soon af­ter, he hit the big time with his band The Heart­break­ers, and they dom­i­nated the charts with songs in­clud­ing “Refugee”, “Learn­ing to Fly” and “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”. He sold more than 80 mil­lion al­bums and won three Gram­mys.

In 1988, Tom teamed up with mu­sic greats Bob Dy­lan, Jeff Lynne, Roy Or­bi­son and Ge­orge Har­ri­son to form the Trav­el­ing Wil­burys, but he never turned his back on the Heart­break­ers, ex­plain­ing, “We get on so well, it’s em­bar­rass­ing.”

Tom Petty and the Heart­break­ers went on tour this year to mark their 40th an­niver­sary, and Tom hinted that it would be their last. “We’re all on the back­side of our 60s,” he said. “I have a grand­daugh­ter now I’d like to see as much as I can. I don’t want to spend my life on the road.”

On Oc­to­ber 2, just a few days af­ter the band’s fi­nal con­cert, Tom’s wife Dana – who he mar­ried in 2001 – found him un­con­scious on the floor of their Mal­ibu home. His life sup­port was turned off in hospi­tal soon af­ter.

Anna Kim paid trib­ute on so­cial me­dia, say­ing, “It’s go­ing to be heal­ing to know I will never go a day with­out hear­ing his mu­sic. I feel grate­ful for hav­ing the great­est rock star as a dad.”

Heart­bro­ken fam­ily: Tom with daugh­ter Adria (top left) and wife Dana. Above: Daugh­ter An­naKim shared this dot­ing im­age on In­sta­gram.

The rock icon was look­ing for­ward to the quiet life.

A gi­ant on the stage and in the charts.

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