Tom Petty Florida’s own rock super star is dead at the age of 66

Petty showed great range in his music and his many fans will miss his distinctive voice.

Tom Petty, passed away this afternoon after being pronounced brain dead by doctors at the UCLA Medical Center. He was removed from life support systems and was officially announced as dead around 4 pm at the age of 66.

According to TMZ, yesterday the legendary rock star was rushed to the hospital, after he was found unconscious, not breathing and in full cardiac arrest. The pride of Gainesville, Florida was rushed from his home in Malibu to the world famous UCLA Medical center in Santa Monica where he was put on life support.

A 2002 inductee to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he became a worldwide sensation as the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The band would go on to win three Grammy Awards and record chart-topping hits like “American Girl” and “Free Fallin.’

It was another British-American supergroup that also brought Petty fame. He was asked by former Beatle George Harrison to join him as a member of The Traveling Wilburys.

The band also featured Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, and Roy Orbison, not a bad combination of musicians. The band took home Grammy’s in 1989 and 1990 for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group.

Petty been touring to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his band. Last week, he wrapped up a long leg of the tour with three sold-out shows at the Hollywood Bowl, according to Forbes.

The “Free Fallin'” rocker recently said this tour would be his “last big one” during a chat with Rolling Stone.

He described the hectic nature of a country-wide tour during the June interview and said he hopes to record again.

“It’s still a wild pace,” Petty told Rolling Stone.

Petty honed his craft playing in bands all around the campus of the University of Florida. He told Associated Press that his passion for music started at the age of ten when he met Elvis back in the summer of 1961. Petty’s uncle was working as a member of the film crew of Follow that Dream a movie that “The King,” was doing in Ocala.


Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.