Rocker Tom Petty remains hospitalized in Los Angeles after being found unconscious and in cardiac arrest at his Malibu home Sunday, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Initial reports today from TMZ and CBS said Petty, 66, had died. CBS cited the Los Angeles Police Department as its source. LAPD later tweeted that this was an inadvertent mistake and that they had no investigative role in the case. Malibu is in the county of Los Angeles, not the city of Los Angeles.
TMZ initially reported that Petty had “no brain activity” when he reached the hospital and that life support was pulled. An hour later, the website reported that he was still “clinging to life” but was not expected to survive.
Representatives for Petty did not return calls and emails requesting comment.
Petty, who came to fame in the rock band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, was taken to UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica after fire department emergency medical personnel worked to revive him.
His current condition is unclear, and the hospital cited federal law on patient confidentiality for declining to either confirm or deny reports about any “potential patient.”
Petty, a grandfather, just finished a 40th-anniversary tour at the end of September, playing arenas, festivals and an occasional stadium.
His last tweet, on Sept. 29, thanked fans for supporting the tour.
“Thanks to everyone for supporting us for the last 40 years! Without YOU, there’d be no US!,” he posted.
Petty, who grew up in Gainesville, Fla., with an emotionally and physically abusive father, filed for bankruptcy in 1979 after legal disputes with his label and lost his house to arson in 1987. He split in 1996 from his first wife, Jane Benyo, after 22 years of marriage and succumbed to drugs and depression.
“In my childhood, I was in such a troubled household,” Petty says. “I see why I became a rock ‘n’ roll fanatic. Music was a safe place.”
Petty is a longtime smoker. As he told Mens Journal in 2015, he smoked from the time he was 17 though he had gone down to less than a pack a day. But he didn’t bother to pretend he was trying to quit.
“I’m an addict, man,” he said then.
In June 2010, he was trying to quit, even taking up electric cigarettes, which helped his wife, Dana, quit smoking.
“I’ve cut way down. You get vapor and a shot of nicotine, nothing burning.”