After initially being reported by US media as having died, before later reports said he was “clinging to life”, the news that Petty had died following a cardiac arrest was confirmed in the early hours this morning.
“He died peacefully at 20:40 Pacific time (03:40 GMT Tuesday) surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends,” said his long-time manager Tony Dimitriades.
The Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers frontman was rushed to hospital on Sunday, after he was found unresponsive and in full cardiac arrest.
News of Petty’s death was first reported by CBS News, which quoted the Los Angeles Police Department.
The news was also reported by Variety, quoting an unnamed source.
The LAPD then, however, tweeted that this information was “inadvertently provided to some media sources”.
An ambulance rushed to his home in Malibu, California, and he was taken to UCLA Santa Monica Hospital, TMZ reports. That outlet also reported that he had been taken off life support.
Petty had just finished up a 40th anniversary tour with his band last month, playing three concerts at the Hollywood Bowl. Variety reported that he had been due to play two dates in New York this November, while a number of shows had been called off due to laryngitis.
He told Rolling Stone that the tour would be his “last trip around the country”, but said that he was unlikely to quit performing altogether.
Born in Florida on 20 October 1950, Petty got an international audience when his band the Heartbreakers made it big with their 1979 album Damn The Torpedoes.
The group would eventually go on to have eight top-10 albums over their career, with their 1993 Greatest Hits album selling in excess of 10 million copies.
In 2002, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Petty also was a co-founder of supergroup the Travelling Wilburys alongside George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne and Bob Dylan.
Over the course of his career, Petty sold millions of albums and became iconic for hits such as Won’t Back Down, Free Fallin’ and You Don’t Know How It Feels.