Tributes and expressions of mourning from fellow musicians continued to pour in Tuesday for rocker Tom Petty, who died at UCLA Medical Center hours after suffering a heart attack at his home in Malibu.
Petty suffered cardiac arrest early Monday morning and was taken to UCLA Medical Center, where he died peacefully at 8:40 p.m., surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends, said Tony Dimitriades, longtime manager for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. He was 66 and had wrapped up a 40th anniversary tour on Sept. 25 with the last of three sold-out shows at the Hollywood Bowl.
A large mural featuring photos of the singer was unfurled Tuesday at the Burbank headquarters of Warner Bros. Records, the singer’s longtime label, and a floral tribute was placedon the Hollywood Walk of Fame star of Petty and the Heartbreakers in front of the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel.
“It’s shocking, crushing news,” Petty’s friend and Traveling Wilburys bandmate Bob Dylan said. I thought the world of Tom. He was a great performer, full of the light, a friend, and I’ll never forget him.”
Bruce Springsteen released a statement Tuesday morning saying he was devastated and heartbroken” at the news.
“I’ve always felt a deep kinship with his music. A great songwriter and performer, whenever we saw each other, it was like running into a long lost brother,” he said. “Our world will be a sadder place without him.”
Steven Van Zandt, a member of Springsteen’s E Street Band, tweeted: “Man this cannot be happening. Not Tom Petty please. Our deepest love and condolences to his family and band. A brother and true believer.”
Ringo Starr, also on Twitter, wrote: “God bless Tom Petty… I’m sure going to miss you Tom.”
Alice Cooper said it was “so rare to find someone who commands such universal respect in the business. He was a rock ‘n’ roll lifer with music in his blood. This man delivered a wealth of great songs to his fans and to the world and that is something to celebrate.”
Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott also took to Twitter, writing: “Through his work with the Heartbreakers and the Traveling Wilburys he’s left us with an incredibly legacy to enjoy forever, it’s such a shame he has left us way before his time.”
Added Guns n’ Roses guitarist Slash via Instagram: “Devastating news about #TomPetty A profound loss. Sad sad day today. RIP.”
Eric Clapton told the Associated Press he was “shocked and saddened by the news of Tom’s passing. He’s such a huge part of our musical history, there’ll never be another like him.”
Some celebrities noted that Petty’s death came in the aftermath of the massacre in Las Vegas.
“Just when I thought today could not get any worse,” tweeted Kid Rock. “R.I.P. Tom Petty. Thank you for your beautiful music and inspiration.”
Sheryl Crow was in a similar frame of mind.
“This is unbearable,” she tweeted. “Vegas and now a great music hero has passed. You brought us so much joy, @tompetty. We will miss you. #RIPTomPetty.”
John Mayer, who has covered Petty’s “Free Fallin,” tweeted that he “loved Tom Petty and I covered his songs because I wanted know what it felt like to fly. `You belong somewhere you feel free.”‘
Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow described Petty as an icon, saying he was “a true rock and roll purist, both in his music and his defiant spirit.”
“With the Heartbreakers, his infectious riffs, rebellious personality and inventive songwriting brought a new urgency to rock traditions and fueled a now legendary career and some of the most memorable music of the last four decades,” Portnow said.
Petty once said, “I’d like to see us break some new ground and leave some sort of mark on the music. That would be the nicest thing — to give something back, as noble as it sounds. If you could make some little dent in rock, where that little area is yours — that’s what I’m striving for now.”
—City News Service