In October 2017, legendary singer-songwriter Tom Petty passed away at the age of 66 after being found unconscious and in cardiac arrest in his Malibu, CA, home, and now the coroner in charge of examining Petty’s cause of death has confirmed the musician succumbed to an accidental drug overdose, The New York Times reports.
According to coroner Jonathan Lucas, a mix of painkiller medications were found in Petty’s system, including traces of fentanyl, oxycodone, temazepam, alprazolam, citalopram, acetyl fentanyl and despropionyl fentanyl. The rise of opiate overdoses and deaths in the past few years has gotten increasing publicity, taking the lives of many including another music legend, Prince, who passed away in the spring of 2016 after a fentanyl overdose.
“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,” Petty’s wife, Dana, and daughter, Adria, wrote in a statement posted to the musician’s website and social media. The announcement goes on to explain various health issues Petty was facing in his last years, including “emphysema, knee problems and most significantly a fractured hip.”
“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.”
The family says that they and the coroner “feel confident” that the overdose was accidental and go on to confront the bigger issue of the opioid epidemic, writing, “Many people who overdose begin with a legitimate injury or simply do not understand the potency and deadly nature of these medications.”
“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.”
Read the full post here.