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Opioids Figured in Tom Petty’s Death

Family says rocker had broken hip, other ailments

tom petty on stage playing guitar, opioid overdose

Samir Hussein/Getty Images

Tom Petty at the Isle of Wight Festival in Newport, United Kingdom in 2012.

Tom Petty’s family says public awareness of his accidental overdose from a mix of drugs, including the opioids fentanyl and oxycodone, could further discussion of the opioid crisis and save lives.

Posting on Facebook after the release of the official Los Angeles County coroner’s report that confirmed the rock singer died of “multisystem organ failure” due to mixed drug intoxication, Petty’s wife and daughter said, “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."

When Petty died in October at age 66, it was reported to be from cardiac arrest. He had recently finished a long, successful 40th-anniversary tour. But his wife, Dana, and daughter Adria said Petty had many ailments, including emphysema, knee problems and 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," they said. The family added that the fracture was upgraded to a full-on break on the day he died, and they believe the pain "was simply unbearable" and the cause of his "overuse of medication."