The Willistonian, Est. 1881

Famed Rocker Tom Petty Dies at 66

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Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Many people were left heartbroken when legendary rocker, Tom Petty, died last Monday, October 2.

Petty was rushed to the hospital on Sunday from his home in Malibu, Cailfornia and doctors did not believe he would make it through the night. On Monday, the iconic rocker was pronounced dead from an apparent cardiac arrest.

The famous musician made it into the limelight with his band, The Heartbreakers. Petty’s band, from Gainesville, Florida formed in 1976, and recorded hits including “Breakdown,” “Yer So Bad,” “American Girl,” “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” and “I Won’t Back Down.” In 2002 the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

On Sunday, October 1, the rumors around Petty’s death started to circulate. These rumors were false, though the rocker had been rushed to the hospital. AnnaKim Violette, Tom’s daughter, along with many of his fans were enraged by the faulty reports.

“How dare you report that my father has died just to get press because your articles and photos are so dated,” said Violette. “This is my father, not a celebrity. An artist and human being.”

It was finally announced on Monday that the rock icon had passed away. Petty was found in cardiac arrest when retrieved from his home, but they have not released a definite report. The case has been deferred, so the coroner is waiting for the results from the testing before announcing a statement.

Well suited to give his personal insight on the matter, Steve Berlanga, the Head of Choirs, shared his favorite songs, including “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” and “I Won’t Back Down.”

BBC article reported numerous artists who had been touched by Petty’s music; all the musicians, including Sam Smith, Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters, Lady Antebellum, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, said that without Tom Petty’s music they would not be who and where they are today.

Perhaps the most moving tribute to Tom Petty’s lasting impact is from the man himself. He told the Los Angeles Times in the final interview of his life: “It was about moving people, and changing the world, and I really believed in rock ’n’ roll — I still do,” he said. “I believed in it in its purest sense, its purest form. … It’s unique to have a band that knows each other that long and that well.”

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