The American singer-songwriter Tom Petty, known for hits such as "American Girl" and "I Won't Back Down," died on Monday after suffering a heart attack, his manager said.
According to celebrity news source TMZ, citing law enforcement sources, Petty was found unconscious at his home in Malibu, California, on Sunday. The singer was reportedly rushed to hospital, where TMZ later claimed "a decision was made to pull life support."
Tom Petty had just last week wrapped up his latest tour, marking the 40th anniversary of his band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
'Full of the light'
He had a career as a solo artist alongside the band, and also co-founded the 1980s British-American supergroup The Traveling Wilburys, whose other members included Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, George Harrison and Jeff Lynne.
In a statement to Rolling Stone magazine on Monday, Bob Dylan described Petty as "a great performer, full of the light, a friend, and I'll never forget him."
Petty, born in the US state of Florida on October 20, 1950, was first inspired by rock'n'roll after being introduced to Elvis Presley by his uncle while Presley was shooting the picture "Follow That Dream" on location in Florida in 1960. He said in a 2006 interview that an appearance by The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show had then bolstered his aspiration to become a member of a rock band.
Among his greatest hits were songs such as "Free Fallin'" and "American Girl."
Petty suffered from a heroin addiction in the 1990s, and also underwent long periods of depression during his career spanning five decades.
He also made several appearances on film and television, including in the 1997 movie The Postman, directed by and starring Kevin Costner.Timothy Jones (with Reuters)