The last thing the music community, and the world at large, needs as it recovers from the tragic mass shooting at the Route 91 country music festival in Las Vegas is more bad news. The world isn’t always fair, though, so more bad news is what we have.
After being found unconscious and in full cardiac arrest, it was prematurely reported that music legend Tom Petty died today, although he was not expected to live through the day. Now, it’s been confirmed via Petty’s longtime manager that he died at 66 tonight at 8:40 PM PST.
Petty’s iconic work was influential to millions of fans and musicians, so the reactions to his passing have been quick and compassionate. Fellow legend Bob Dylan, who was Petty’s bandmate in Traveling Wilburys and his friend, told Rolling Stone, “It’s shocking, crushing news. I thought the world of Tom. He was great performer, full of the light, a friend, and I’ll never forget him.”
As the news of Petty’s ailing health spread, everybody from Carole King to Cypress Hill to The Chainsmokers took to Twitter and expressed their dismay. Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig called Petty’s “Free Fallin'” “truly one of the greatest pieces of American art,” while Sharon Van Etten thanked Petty for “all the family singalong road trips” and Ryan Adams rightfully declared, “Your music has changed this world for the better.”
Check out some of the tributes below.