Tom Petty Died of Accidental Opioid Overdose, Says Coroner
The opioid crisis claimed another music legend, according to the autopsy performed on Tom Petty, who died Oct. 2 after being found unconscious at his Southern California home.
In a statement posted today on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' Facebook page, Petty's widow, Dana, and daughter Adria said that their family met with the medical examiner and "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."
"Unfortunately Tom’s body suffered from many serious ailments including emphysema, knee problems and most significantly a fractured hip," they said. "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."
A week before his death, Petty wrapped up a 24-state, 53-show 40th anniversary tour with a performance at the Hollywood Bowl.
"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 and Adria Petty said. "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."
"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," they added.
The L.A. County Coroner said Petty, 66, died from "mixed drug intoxication" that was ruled an accident. In addition to emphysema, the medical examiner noted the rocker had coronary artery atherosclerosis.
"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," said Dana and Adria. "He was extremely proud of that achievement in the days before he passed."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 42,249 opioid-related overdose deaths in the United States in 2016, a 28 percent jump from the previous year. The average is 115 deaths per day.
Close friend Sheila E. said Prince was in chronic pain from hip problems spurred by "all the years he was jumping off those risers" during performances, and the pop icon reportedly had hip replacement surgery in 2010. He died of an accidental fentanyl overdose at his Paisley Park compound in April 2016 at age 57.