After months of speculation, a medical examiner has determined that Tom Petty died from an accidental overdose back in October of last year. 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 playing every night of his last tour on what was later discovered to be a broken hip and was reportedly in immense pain every day during the tour, going as far as to take a golf cart to the stage.
According to the autopsy, Tom Petty accidentally overdosed after he had taken several pain medications, including Fentanyl, oxycodone, and generic Xanax. Other medications included generic Restoril, which is a sleep aid and generic Celexa, which treats depression. Fentanyl is a very powerful opioid that was also responsible for Prince's death back in 2016 as well. Petty was found unconscious in his home on October 2nd, just days after the conclusion of the triumphant 40th anniversary Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers tour. The singer was rushed to the hospital where he later died at the age of 66, just a few weeks shy of his 67th birthday.
Tom Petty's family released a statement on the official website of the band after they learned the cause of death. The statement mentions the ill health and intense pain that Petty was in while he was on tour, which had previously been discussed by the Heartbreakers shortly after his death. Petty gave it his all during his performances, much like Prince, and more than likely over did it on stage, leading to more pain afterwards. The statement reiterates that the overdose was accidental. A portion of the statement reads.
"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. 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 40th anniversary Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers tour was expected by Petty and the band to be their last giant, full-scale tour. The band had been playing arenas, clubs, halls, stadiums, and everything in between for the last 40 years. The next chapter of the band's story was to involve smaller tours, possibly even smaller venues, and a tour revolving around Petty's excellent 1994 album Wallflowers, which had been awaiting a deluxe reissue at the time of the singer's death.
In the days leading up to his death, Tom Petty was optimistic about the future of the band and cutting down on touring to be around his family more. The singer noted that the band wouldn't be able to carry on if one of the members fell ill or worse, died. Just days after saying those words in an interview, Petty collapsed at his Malibu home and later passed away. Tom Petty lived the life of a true artist and craftsman, entertaining until the end. Rest in Peace, Tom Petty. You can read the full statement from Petty's family courtesy of TomPetty.com.