[Photo by: Sam Jones]
The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner has confirmed the cause of death for legendary musician, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tom Petty, stating his death was the result of an accidental overdose.
According to a statement released by Petty's family in conjunction with the coroner's results, Petty had been given several prescription drugs to treat emphysema, knee issues and a fractured hip.
“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,” Petty's wife Dana and daughter Adria share in their statement. “On the day he died he was informed his hip had graduated to a full on break and it is our feeling that the pain was simply unbearable and was the cause for his over use of medication.”
The coroner's office has listed Petty's official cause of death as “multisystem organ failure due to resuscitated cardiopulmonary arrest due to mixed drug toxicity,” noting that his coronary artery disease and emphysema had been a persistent problem throughout his final tour.
Petty had taken several pain medications including Fentanyl, oxycodone and a generic form of Xanax. Other medications found in his system included a generic of the sleep aid Restoril and generic Celexa which is used to treat depression.
“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” his family adds in their statement. “On a positive note we now know for certain he went painlessly and beautifully exhausted after doing what he loved the most, for one last time, performing live with his unmatchable rock band for his loyal fans on the biggest tour of his 40 plus year career. he was extremely proud of that achievement in the days before he passed.”
Petty's family adds that they hope his death will raise awareness and understanding of opiod crisis. “As a family, we recognize this report may spark a further discussion on the opioid crisis and we feel that it is a healthy and necessary discussion and we hope in some way this report can save lives. Many people who overdose begin with a legitimate injury or simply do not understand the potency and deadly nature of these medications.”
Petty was born Oct. 20, 1950, in Gainesville, Florida, and released his first album with the Heartbreakers in 1976. Prior to his unexpected death, the musician and his band had just completed a U.S. tour, which ended with a show on Monday, Sept. 25, at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.