Tom Petty dies aged 66

As frontman of The Heartbreakers and a solo artist he sold over 80 million records worldwide.

Singer Tom Petty, frontman of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, has died aged 66 after suffering a heart attack. 

The American musician was found unconscious and in cardiac arrest at his Malibu home on Sunday evening (Oct 1). 

After being taken to UCLA Santa Monica Hospital, CBS News reported that life support was switched off the following day.

Tom Petty rose to fame in the 1970s with his band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The group scored a string of hits including American Girl and I Won't Back Down. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

MORE: See where all of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers singles and albums charted in the UK

He also co-founded the Traveling Wilburys - a supergroup with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison.

Tom Petty formed The Heartbreakers in 1976, releasing their self-titled debut album that same year. The record featured what became one of their signature songs, American Girl.

While his breakthrough came with his band’s third album Damn the Torpedoes in 1979, it wasn't until 1991 they scored their first Top 10 on the Official Albums Chart, with Into The Great Wide Open. The last Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers album, Hypnotic Eye, was released 2014 and peaked at Number 7 in the UK.

Petty played his last show last Monday, performing three sold-out gigs at the Hollywood Bowl to conclude their 40th anniversary tour.

Bob Dylan told Rolling Stone in a statement: "It's shocking, crushing news. I thought the world of Tom. He was great performer, full of the light, a friend, and I’ll never forget him."

Petty's daughter, Kimberley Violette, has also shared her own heartfelt memories of her father: 

Watch the video for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' popular 1981 single The Waiting below: 

Article image: Rex