Tom Petty Death – Reason Accidental Drug Overdose

Tom Petty Death – Reason Accidental Drug Overdose

Tom Petty, the chart-topping singer, and songwriter died in October from an accidental drug overdose as a result of mixing medications that included opioids, the medical examiner-coroner for the county of Los Angeles announced on Friday, ending the mystery surrounding his sudden death last year.

The coroner, Jonathan Lucas, said that Mr. Petty’s system showed traces of the drugs fentanyl, oxycodone, temazepam, alprazolam, citalopram, acetyl fentanyl, and Despropionyl fentanyl.

Barely a week after Mr. Petty, 66, had concluded a tour with his band, the Heartbreakers, with three shows at the Hollywood Bowl, representatives said the singer had suffered cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu, Calif. on Oct. 2. But Mr. Petty’s official death certificate, released about a week later, listed his cause of death as “deferred” pending an autopsy.

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Tom Petty Death
Tom Petty Death

In a statement posted to Mr. Petty’s Facebook page on Friday, his wife, Dana, and daughter, Adria, wrote that Mr. Petty suffered from “many serious ailments including emphysema, knee problems and most significantly a fractured hip,” but that he continued to tour, worsening his conditions.

“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 overuse of medication,” the statement said.

They said: “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.”

Tom Petty Death – Reason Accidental Drug Overdose

“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,” Mr. Petty’s family said.

“Many people who overdose begin with a legitimate injury or simply do not understand the potency and deadly nature of these medications.”

After months of speculation, a medical examiner has ruled that Tom Petty died of an accidental overdose, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner.

The Hall of Fame musician had taken several pain medications, including Fentanyl, oxycodone, and generic Xanax. Other medications included generic Restoril (a sleep aid) and generic Celexa (which treats depression).

The coroner’s office listed Petty’s official cause of death as “multisystem organ failure due to resuscitated
cardiopulmonary arrest due to mixed drug toxicity,” noting the singer suffered from coronary artery atherosclerosis and emphysema.

Petty had been prescribed the drugs to treat emphysema, knee issues, and a fractured hip, his family said in a statement accompanying the results. Petty’s coronary artery disease had been a persistent problem throughout his final tour.

“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,” Petty’s wife Dana and daughter Adria wrote in the statement.

“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 overuse of medication.”

Tom Petty Death – Reason Accidental Drug Overdose

Petty was found unconscious and not breathing at his Malibu home on October 2nd. He was rushed to a hospital where he was placed on life support.

Although he had a pulse, doctors found no brain activity when he arrived and the decision was made to pull life support. He died hours later.

The singer had recently completed a 40th-anniversary tour with his band, the Heartbreakers. It was intended to be his “last trip around the country,” though he told Rolling Stone he wasn’t going to stop playing. “I need something to do, or I tend to be a nuisance around the house,” he said.

Petty said he’d experimented with cocaine over the years (“[It] was never a good look,” he told Men’s Journal) and drinking (“I didn’t like the taste or the buzz,” he said).

But it was in the late Nineties, when he was in his late 40s and two decades after he’d become a superstar, that he developed an addiction to heroin after a bitter divorce from his first wife.

“Tried to go cold turkey, and that wouldn’t work,” he said in author Warren Zanes’ book Petty: The Biography. “It’s an ugly fucking thing.” He sought out treatment for his addiction and remarried in 2001.

Reason Accidental Drug Overdose

When Tom Petty was rushed to a hospital one year ago in full cardiac arrest, two words immediately sprang to many minds: Not again.

Weeks later, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s report confirmed what many family members, friends, and fans feared: Petty had accidentally overdosed.

Among the combination of sedatives, anti-depressants and pain killers found in Petty’s system was the opioid fentanyl, the same drug on which Prince overdosed in 2016.

According to his wife, Dana, Petty endured the pain of a fractured hip throughout a 40th-anniversary tour with his longtime band, the Heartbreakers.

Petty, then 66, slipped during a rehearsal and cracked his hip just as the Heartbreakers’ tour was getting underway last spring. He went out anyway.

Tom Petty Death
Tom Petty Death

“He was very stubborn,” Dana said. “His feeling was, ‘I can’t do that to my crew. I can’t do that to the fans. I can’t do that to my band.’”

On one level, the takeaway from Petty’s death is painfully simple. “The most important thing is taking care of your health,” said Elliot Roberts, Neil Young’s longtime manager who also once was part of Petty’s management team.

“If you need to take six months or a year off until you’re ready to go out again, then take the time off.”

But that may be easier said than done, especially for musicians at Petty’s level of success on whom dozens, if not hundreds, of others, are dependent for their livelihoods. Petty’s final tour grossed more than $61 million, according to the industry trade publication Billboard.

“It is a machine,” said singer, songwriter, and guitarist Lukas Nelson, who recently worked on the music for “A Star is Born” and has spent most of his life watching his father, veteran country star Willie Nelson, tour relentlessly.

“You’ve got a band you’ve gotta pay, you’ve got people out there, labels, whoever, saying: ‘Hey, you gotta keep going, man, keep going.’ Ultimately, if you feel you want to quit, you should just take the time.”

In recent years, Nelson served in Neil Young’s touring band and has observed how the artist famous for singing “It’s better to burn out than to fade away” 40 years ago has to reckon with the punishing effects of playing high-intensity rock ‘n’ roll into his 70s. Young recently took more than a year off from touring to attend to his health.

“I don’t believe in the drugs, so I don’t take the drugs,” Young told The Times this year. “Painkillers don’t really kill the pain — they cause pain. If I have pain, then I have pain.

“I have arthritis, but when you get out there on stage there are endorphins and so many other things going on, my body can overcome the pain.

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Tom Petty Death – Reason Accidental Drug Overdose

Tom wanted to go out and play no matter what, and that’s the rock ‘n’ roll life, so God bless him. “But if you’ve got a busted hip, you probably shouldn’t be playing. The drugs just screw you up.”

The Recording Academy’s MusiCares philanthropic wing has placed clients seeking treatment at the Cumberland Heights center outside of Nashville.

Chapman Sledge, the center’s chief medical officer, said that in recent years “the needle [on substance abuse] is moving — unfortunately, it’s moving in a bad direction.”

Petty struggled with depression, anxiety, and insomnia as well as pain from the hip fracture, as evidenced by substances the coroner found in his system when he died: fentanyl and oxycodone (painkillers); alprazolam (Xanax) and temazepam, (to treat anxiety and insomnia); and citalopram, an antidepressant.

In addition, there were two non-prescription fentanyl analogs: acetyl fentanyl, a designer drug estimated to be five to 15 times more powerful than morphine, and Despropionyl fentanyl, a synthetic analgesic about 80 times stronger than morphine.

“Two fentanyl analogs … that’s pretty scary,” Sledge said, “especially combined with the alprazolam and the antidepressant.”

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