Tom Petty Died of Accidental Overdose

Last October, legendary rocker Tom Petty died of a heart attack, at the relatively young age of 66. The medical examiner has now attributed this to an accidental overdose of prescription drugs.

Last October, legendary rocker Tom Petty died of a heart attack, at the relatively young age of 66. The medical examiner has now attributed this to an accidental overdose of prescription drugs.

Rolling Stone:

After months of speculation, a medical examiner has ruled that Tom Petty died of an accidental overdose, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner. The Hall of Fame musician had taken several pain medications, including Fentanyl, oxycodone and generic Xanax. Other medications included generic Restoril (a sleep aid) and generic Celexa (which treats depression).

The coroner’s office listed Petty’s official cause of death as “multisystem organ failure due to resuscitated cardiopulmonary arrest due to mixed drug toxicity,” noting the singer suffered from coronary artery atherosclerosis and emphysema.

Petty had been prescribed the drugs to treat emphysema, knee issues and a fractured hip, his family said in a statement accompanying the results. Petty’s coronary artery disease had been a persistent problem throughout his final tour.

“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 wrote in the 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 overuse of medication.”

Petty was found unconscious and not breathing at his Malibu home on October 2nd. He was rushed to a hospital where he was placed on life support. Although he had a pulse, doctors found no brain activity when he arrived and the decision was made to pull life support. He died hours later.

The singer had recently completed a 40th anniversary tour with his band, the Heartbreakers. It was intended to be his “last trip around the country,” though he told Rolling Stone he wasn’t going to stop playing. “I need something to do, or I tend to be a nuisance around the house,” he said.

Sad news, indeed. Alas, Petty is just among the more famous in what has become a national epidemic.

FILED UNDER: Health, Obituaries, Popular Culture, Quick Takes
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. JohnMcC says:

    I saw a headline in my browsing this AM to the effect that the family has made this announcement as a ‘warning’. One would think that anyone not previously wakened to the opioid crisis is named Rip Van Winkle and will likely stay asleep. Still, must have been difficult for them. The more warnings the better, I guess. Pretty amazing polypharmacy!




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  2. Franklin says:

    Petty worked his arse off for decades. If you read about him, he treated his career as an actual job. Unfortunately his dedication conflicted with and exacerbated health problems. He and his family have my sympathies. Also, doctors are put in a bad position with regards to prescribing some of these drugs.




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  3. Guarneri says:

    Fentanyl – one word: bad.




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