As Americans were still gathering details and learning about the mass shooting at a music festival in Las Vegas, news broke that Tom Petty, one of the country’s most beloved songwriters and performers of the past few decades, had been hospitalized.

TMZ first broke the news around noon Monday that the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer had been found unconscious at his Malibu home and was taken to the UCLA Santa Monica Hospital. Reports say he suffered a full cardiac arrest and was put on life support, with no brain activity, and was later taken off.

As the afternoon progressed, some news outlets began reporting that the Los Angeles Police Department had confirmed the death, but that reporting was inaccurate.

“The LAPD has no information about the passing of singer Tom Petty. Initial information was inadvertently provided to some media sources,” said the LAPD in a tweet Monday afternoon. “However the LAPD has no investigative role in this matter. We apologize for any inconvenience in this reporting.”

According to the Associated Press, CBS News first reported that Petty died Monday afternoon, but did not cite a source. The story was later changed to say he is “clinging to life.” The AP reports that a memorial at Petty’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was canceled after the reports were confirmed as false.

Petty, 66, was born in Gainesville, Florida, and became known with his band the Heartbreakers in the 1970s. They released more than a dozen albums, and Petty released three solo albums. He was also a member of George Harrison’s band, The Traveling Wilburys, along with Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison.

“Tom Petty has played so many shows over the decades here in Detroit and classic rock fans have always embraced him to the fullest,” said Juline Jordan, a longtime Detroit rock radio personality who is currently on air at WCSX-FM. “I think what Detroiters love most about him is his grit and humility, which is something we know a lot about in this city. His determination to give the fans the best music he possibly can had always been inspiring.”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers recently wrapped up their 40th anniversary tour at the Hollywood Bowl in late September. The tour hit DTE Energy Music Theatre on July 18. According to, the musician has solo shows scheduled for New York City in November.

Twitter: @melodybaetens

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