Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES — Rocker Tom Petty died last year from “multisystem organ failure” caused by accidental drug toxicity, the Los Angeles County coroner said Friday.
An autopsy found that Petty had several drugs in his system, including fentanyl, oxycodone, temazepam, alprazolam, citalopram, acetylfentanyl and despropionyl fentanyl, the agency said.
“A lot of these are found in prescription drugs,” said Brian Elias, a coroner’s spokesman.
Petty, 66, also had coronary artery atherosclerosis and emphysema.
Found unconscious at his Malibu home, Petty was taken to the University of California, Los Angeles’ Santa Monica hospital in full cardiac arrest and died Oct. 2.
Petty had just completed an extensive tour to mark the Heartbreakers’ 40th anniversary. It concluded Sept. 25 with a three-night homecoming stand that sold out at the Hollywood Bowl.
His family released a statement addressing the findings on the musician’s official web site Friday:
“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.”
The statement was signed by the musician’s wife, Dana Petty, and his daughter, Adria Petty.