Tom Petty’s death was an “accidental drug overdose as a result of taking a variety of medications,” his family said as the coroner released his autopsy and noted he had massive organ failure due to “mixed drug toxicity.”
The "Free Fallin’" singer was 66 when he had a heart attack on October 1, 2017. He was taken off life support and died the following day.
“Our family sat together this morning with the Medical Examiner – Coroner’s office and we were informed of their final analysis that Tom Petty passed away due to an accidental drug overdose as a result of taking a variety of medications,” his wife Dana and daughter Adria Petty said on Facebook on Friday, January 19, 2018.
The toxicology report released by the Los Angeles County Coroner noted Petty was on several drugs at the time of his death, including “Fentanyl patches, oxycodone (Oxycontin), temazepam (Restoril), alprazolam (Xanax), citalopram (Celexa), acetyl fentanyl and despropionyl fentanyl.”
Petty’s family explained “Unfortunately Tom’s body suffered from many serious ailments including emphysema, knee problems and most significantly a fractured hip.”
They revealed his determination to continue performing may have led to his death. “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.
“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.”
Dana, who tried to save Tom with CPR on the day he collapsed, described the end of his life. “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.
The singer’s wife and daughter said they respected the ruling about his death, writing: “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.”
They addressed the opioid epidemic. “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.”
His death left a hole in the family and for his fans, Dana and Adria wrote. “We continue to mourn with you and marvel at Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' incredible positive impact on music and the world. And we thank you all for your love and support over the last months.
“Thank you also for respecting the memory of a man who was truly great during his time on this planet both publicly and privately.
“We would be grateful if you could respect the privacy of the entire Heartbreaker family during this difficult time.”
RIP Tom Petty.
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