Tom Petty fans have been mourning his death for three months but now that the singer’s official cause of death has been determined, fans are experiencing heartbreak for a new reason. While the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers frontman’s cause of death was initially said to be from cardiac arrest, Petty’s family has released a new statement after speaking with the L.A. County Coroner’s office, according to Rolling Stone.
The official coroner’s report now reveals that Tom Petty died of an accidental drug overdose as a result of mixing medications that included opioids. During an examination on Oct. 3, 2017, the medical examiner found multiple prescription medications in the 66-year-old singer’s system, including Fentanyl, oxycodone, and generic Xanax, as well as generic sleep aids and depression drugs. Tom Petty was also suffering from coronary artery atherosclerosis, emphysema, and a broken hip when he died. The rock legend’s cause of death has now been listed as “multi-system organ failure” caused by “mixed drug toxicity.”
On the day that he died, Tom Petty, who had just completed a 40th-anniversary tour with his band, was told by his doctor that his hip fracture had developed into a full break after 53 dates of touring. Petty’s last show was at the Hollywood Bowl on Sept. 25, just one week before his death.
In an official statement accompanying the toxicology results, Tom Petty’s wife, Dana, and oldest daughter, Adria, attributed his death to an accidental overuse of medication due to the unbearable pain he suffered.
In a separate Instagram post, Tom Petty’s youngest daughter, AnnaKim Violette Petty, also spoke out about the rock legend’s cause of death. AnnaKim Violette, who has shared many social media posts about her late father in the months following his death, including photos from his private memorial at the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in the Pacific Palisades, revealed that her dad powered through the pain in order to perform for his fans.
“My dad in the past openly overcame a crippling drug problem with no shame,” AnnaKim wrote.
“His recent death is tragic yet he died from doing what he loved and what will continue to keep his spirit alive. Touring with a broken hip because he would have it no other way. He loved performing. There are no hypothetical questions…I love my dad and feel he is an immortal bad*ss. The amount of pain his hip caused was beyond a normal surgery. He is at peace out of pain. I thank you for respecting my family’s privacy and inviting love during this shocking new chapter.”
Tom Petty’s family also said that they recognize that the report on Tom’s death could spark “a further discussion on the opioid crisis” and that they hope “in some way this report can save lives.”
After Tom Petty’s official cause of death was released, heartbroken fans took to social media to address the opioid crisis, specifically Fentanyl, a drug which the CDC estimates is 80 times as potent as morphine and hundreds of times more potent than heroin. Many fans compared Petty’s death to Prince’s shocking overdose death two years ago. Like Petty, when the “Purple Rain” singer died at his home of an accidental overdose of Fentanyl in 2016, it was revealed that he had long been in pain due to hip problems.
Tom Petty dying of an accidental opioid overdose (Prince, too) proves this disturbing trend isn’t just isolated to rural parts of the country or any one group of people. This is a national epidemic that affects all of us. It should be treated that way.
— Adam Best (@adamcbest) January 20, 2018
The Tom Petty news, on top of Prince’s is a loud warning. . .
Please, everyone must understand the dangers of accidental opioid overdose death from managing pain.
— Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) January 20, 2018
2016: Prince dies of opioid overdose.
2017: Tom Petty dies of opioid overdose.
2018: As many as 100 people per day, largely anonymous, are dying of opioid overdoses.
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) January 20, 2018
To be clear, Tom Petty was not an addict who OD'd, but an injured man who *accidentally* mixed meds. That said, the family is absolutely correct: A lot of people start down the road to opioid addiction and almost inevitable overdose in the same way that he did. Be careful. https://t.co/qEra8HNIVO
— Sophia-Helene Mees de Tricht (@Sophie_D_T) January 20, 2018
Tom Petty and Prince should still be here.
— Hunter Felt (@HunterFelt) January 20, 2018
Tom Petty and Prince were previously connected in 2004 when they famously played together at George Harrison’s posthumous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. Petty and Prince were part of an all-star band that performed Harrison’s Beatles classic, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” You can see the iconic performance below.