Monday’s news was dominated by the terrible mass killings in Las Vegas, but another story also saddened and confused music fans. Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer Tom Petty suffered a heart attack Sunday night at 66, and CBS erroneously reported that he had died. After the news widely spread, his family announced that he was still alive. The story was retracted; but while Petty clung to life throughout Monday, he could not be resuscitated and passed away Monday night.
Petty first hit the airwaves in the 1970s and enjoyed an unusual decades-long, largely controversy-free run of music success. He released a number of classic rock staples such as "American Girl," "Free Fallin'," “Refugee,” "Don't Come Around Here No More," "The Waiting," "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," and more, both with his own band, The Heartbreakers, and the supergroup, the Traveling Wilburys. He was filling arenas right up until the end, performing sold-out shows just last week at the Hollywood Bowl to mark the Heartbreakers' 40th anniversary.
While it's sad for fans that there will be no more albums or tours, it's doubly sad because Petty had already announced that he was finally planning to cut back on touring to spend more time with his young granddaughter. He’d told an interviewer, "This tour will take me away for four months With a little kid, that's a lot of time." Tragically, he'll never get that time with her.
It's a sobering reminder to us all that no matter how important our work is to us, we should always set aside time for those we love because we never know when our time might run out. And nobody ever expressed a dying wish that they'd spent more time at work instead of with their loved ones.