Tom Petty, leg­endary rock star, dead at 66

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Tom Petty, who rose to fame in the ‘70s as the lead of Tom Petty and the Heart­break­ers, died on Mon­day at age 66.

Tony Dim­i­tri­ades, the band man­ager, an­nounced the singer’s death in a state­ment. The leg­endary singer was found in car­diac ar­rest in the early hours of Mon­day morn­ing at his home in Mal­ibu, Calif.

Petty was taken to UCLA Med­i­cal Cen­ter but could not be re­vived, Dim­i­tri­ades said. He died at 11:40 p.m.

Thomas Earl Petty fell in love with mu­sic at a young age after a chance en­counter with Elvis Pres­ley, and was the voice be­hind cel­e­brated hits like “Free Fallin’” and “Don’t Do Me Like That.”

Born in Gainesville, Fla., Petty had a rough up­bring­ing with an abu­sive fa­ther and saw mu­sic as his ticket out.

"Mu­sic," he re­called to Men’s Jour­nal, "was a safe place."

Petty started the band Mud­crutch in 1970, but his real suc­cess came in the late ‘70s with the birth of Tom Petty and the Heart­break­ers. The band’s sec­ond al­bum in 1978 was a hit with songs like “Lis­ten To Her Heart.”

The band re­lo­cated to Los An­ge­les and de­fied the odds by re­main­ing on good terms. In 2017, they em­barked on their 40th an­niver­sary tour. Last week, he wrapped up a long leg of the tour with three sold­out shows at the Hol­ly­wood Bowl.

The rocker re­cently said this tour would be his "last big one" dur­ing a chat with Rolling Stone.

He de­scribed the hec­tic na­ture of a coun­try-wide tour dur­ing the June in­ter­view and said he had as­pi­ra­tions to record again.

Petty's fi­nal tour was one of the coun­try's top gross­ing, clock­ing in at at #9, with over $1.6 mil­lion in ticket sales.

Dur­ing an October 2015 in­ter­view with Men’s Jour­nal, Petty re­flected on his fa­mous de­ter­mi­na­tion.

“Prob­a­bly the greatest achieve­ment you can reach is when you're able to for­give the most heinous thing in your life. I for­give any­one. That's where I've ar­rived. And if I'm not suc­cess­ful at that, I for­give my­self,” he said with a smile.

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