Rock icon Tom Petty dead at 66

Coldplay pays tribute to Tom Petty with moving 'Free Fallin'' cover

A statement on Petty's website from longtime manager Tony Dimitriades said: "On behalf of the Tom Petty family, we are devastated to announce the untimely death of our father, husband, brother, leader and friend, Tom Petty".

The iconic musician was found unconscious at his Malibu home from a suspected cardiac arrest. Full Moon Fever was released in 1989, when I was just seven years old, and it's the first album I remember listening to as an album, from start to finish, over and over again.

Petty's last stage appearance took place September 25 at the Hollywood Bowl, the last of three sold-out shows there marking the finale of the band's extensive North American tour celebrating the 40th anniversary of their self- titled debut album.

Petty was born in Gainesville, Fla., on October 20, 1950. His father, an insurance salesman, beat him, expressing disappointment that he was a "mild-mannered kid who was interested in the arts". In all of his best songs, no matter how distraught, how achingly sad, you knew there'd come that moment where he'd give the microphone over to you to belt out your feelings at full throat. So it's an interesting blend.

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"You know what's worth spending time on and what's not". They were more of just your white trash kind of. family. Tom Petty is an American Icon because his heart has always put human rights first.

Kristian Bush: Thank you Tom Petty for making music. Stating that he would not be "bought and sold like a piece of meat", he self-financed what became "Damn the Torpedoes" and declared bankruptcy rather than allowing his label, MCA, to release it. Petty took on record companies every few years.

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He also formed part of the 1980s supergroup the Traveling Wilburys alongside Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison. Growing up together in Gainesville and seeing one of my students blossom as an incredibly gifted musician and songwriter has been one of my most fulfilling experiences in this life.

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At a time when epic tracks, concept albums, virtuosic guitar solos, and hippie hair, beads and bell bottoms were all the rage, the Heartbreakers delivered nine songs on their third studio album, many of which clocked in at less than four minutes.

Petty's other great hits-with and without The Heartbreakers-are too innumerable to chronicle here: "American Girl", "Refugee", "Change of Heart", "I Won't Back Down" (the one that got Sam Smith in trouble), "Don't Come Around Here No More" (the one with the unbelievable Alice in Wonderland-themed video), "Here Comes My Girl" (the one with the gritty spoken-word verses), and on and on and on. I don't think so. He is both a peer and an inspiration to me. "It was that fast". "There could be a self-contained unit that wrote, recorded and sang songs".

But it's been a part of my life - a huge part - for almost 40 years, a constant companion to so many memories, so many moments spent alone or with friends, sad times when a particular song momentarily made the pain fade away, joyous times when a blast of jangly rock "n" roll made the smiles that much wider. I find that fascinating.

Around the time he drove the vehicle off the lot, he got a call from Bruce Springsteen.

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