Tom Petty’s death ruled an accidental drug overdose
The Los Angeles County Coroner’s office has ruled Tom Petty’s death an accidental drug overdose caused by “mixed drug toxicity.” A medical examination conducted on October 3, 2017 indicated that fentanyl, oxycodone, temazepam, alprazolam, citalopram, acetylfentanyl, and despripionyl fentanyl were present in Petty’s system, leading to what the office formally registered as “multisystem organ failure due to resuscitated cardiopulmonary arrest due to mixed drug toxicity.”
The Coroner’s office released Petty’s autopsy results on Friday, January 19. The report also accounted for Petty’s pre-existing coronary artery atherosclerosis and emphysema, conditions for which the drugs present were prescribed.
Petty’s wife Dana, and his daughter, Adria have issued a joint statement in response to the autopsy’s findings, noting that Petty had toured a total of 53 dates with a fractured hip. The tour honored the 40th anniversary of Petty’s band, the Heartbreakers.
“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,” Dana and Adria wrote.
Petty was found unconscious and not breathing at his Malibu house on October 2nd. Although Petty was immediately taken to a hospital and placed on life support, doctors did not find brain activity at the time of Petty’s arrival, despite the presence of a pulse. The lack of brain activity led to the termination of Petty’s life support. Petty died shortly thereafter at the age of 66.
“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,” Dana and Adria stated. The family’s full statement appears below.
Full Statement from Dana and Adria Petty
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.
Unfortunately Tom’s body suffered from many serious ailments 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.
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.
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.
We continue to mourn with you and marvel at Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers incredible positive impact on music and the world. And we thank you all for your love and support over the last months.
Thank you also for respecting the memory of a man who was truly great during his time on this planet both publicly and privately.
We would be grateful if you could respect the privacy of the entire Heartbreaker family during this difficult time.
Dana Petty and Adria Petty
H/T: Rolling Stone