On October 2, 2017, America lost beloved rock singer/songwriter Tom Petty. Just a few days short of his birthday on October 20, Petty passed away in UCLA Medical Hospital in Santa Monica, California. Initial autopsy sources claim that the singer passed due to cardiac arrest, but further investigations are still being made. Authorities have postponed confirming the official cause of death on the certificate, the reason for this being the fact that Petty did not have any significant recent health problems. Some are suggesting that his death may have been the result of drugs, or even smoking (to which he had been trying to quit).
But why focus on his death? Thomas Earl Petty lived an extraordinary life in the spotlight, adored by millions of fans, along with his supportive bandmates. His band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, recently expressed their thoughts and love for their former bandmate, and also elaborated on how their band managed to stay together for so long. In an article by Randy Lewis of the Los Angeles Times, Benmont Tench, the band’s keyboardist, said “If you put the music ahead of your ego, and everything else, then it can last.” In his last, interview, Petty agreed that their love of music is what kept the band together.
Ever since the band’s first album release on November 9, 1976, they have stacked up many awards and gotten much recognition throughout their career, including the honor of the keys to Gainesville, Florida. With hit singles, such as Free Fallin’ (1989) and I Won’t Back Down (1989), Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have made a significant impact on many people’s lives, and serve as inspirations to both aspiring artists and ordinary everyday people alike. Many have made tributes in honor of Petty, including the Florida Gators and The Killers. In just days following his death, the band’s hit singles topped charts all around the world.
Tom Petty’s legacy will live on for as long as the people whose lives he touched and inspired are around to tell his story.
By: Katalina deLeon’19, Staff Writer