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Sober Nation

Putting Recovery On The Map

01-22-18 | By

Tom Petty’s Cause Of Death Confirmed

Image Courtesy of Esquire

In the wake of October, we heard the devastating news of the passing of rock legend, Tom Petty. After months of speculation, his cause of death has been determined.

On Friday morning, the Los Angeles County coroner confirmed that Petty’s cause of death was a “multi-system organ failure” due to mixed drug intoxication.

Accidental Overdose

Accompanying the toxicology results, Petty’s wife, Dana and daughter, Adria took to Facebook:

“Our family sat together this morning with the Medical Examiner – Coroner’s office and 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.”

On October 1, 2017, Tom Petty was rushed to the hospital after going into cardiac arrest in his Malibu home. The singer was removed from life support after determining that he had no brain activity where he died just hours later. The overwhelming news left an imprint on the music world with various artists including Bob Dylan and Ryan Adams, taking note the influence and impact Petty had on their lives. Petty was laid to rest on October 16, at a private service in Pacific Palisades, California.

The 66 year old was being treated for a number of health issues, including emphysema, knee problems, and a fractured hip. The report shows that he died from an accidental drug overdose from a variety of pain medications — including fentanyl patches.

The family stated:

“We knew before the report was shared with us that he was prescribed various pain medications for a multitude of issues including fentanyl patches and we feel confident that this was, as the coroner found, an unfortunate accident.”

The report also notes that besides fentanyl and other painkillers, Petty was also taking Oxycontin and Xanax, as well as medications to treat insomnia and depression.

“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,” their post says. The family said the fracture upgraded to a full-on break and they believe the pain “was simply unbearable” and the cause of his “overuse of medication.”

The Pettys’ On Addiction

Petty’s family also wrote that they hoped the news could “spark a further discussion” on “deadly” pain medications. “As a family we recognize this report may spark a further discussion on the opioid crisis and we feel that it is a healthy an necessary discussion and we hope in some way this report can save lives,” they continued, “Many people who overdose begin with a legitimate injury or simply do not understand the potency and deadly nature of these medications.” 

As no stranger to drug abuse, Petty had experimented with cocaine over the years, it wasn’t until the late Nineties after he became a superstar he developed an addiction to heroin. In author Warren Zanes’ book, “Petty: the Biography,” he states, “I tried to quit cold turkey, and that wouldn’t work. It’s an ugly fucking thing.” He sought out treatment for his addiction and remarried in 2001.

Gaining Recognition

Petty formed the Heartbreakers in 1976 in Gainesville, FL and burst onto the rock scene with now classic hits “Refugee” and “American Girl,” before blowing up with the multiplatinum album “Damn the Torpedoes in 1979. The legend released three solo albums and 13 albums with “Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers,” where he also took part in the 1980’s super-group,” The Traveling Wilburys,” including Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynn. While members of his band changed over the years, Petty’s distinct voice and incandescent songwriting skills made him one of the most enduring figures in the rock scene over the next four decades. Even up until his devastating passing, Petty was still playing to packed arenas.

It is no doubt that Petty’s impact on the music world will not soon be forgotten as we continue to mourn a legend.


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