Rock icon Tom Petty passed away on Oct. 2, 2017, at age 66. His longtime manager Tony Dimitriades released a statement that said the family is too emotional to declare the unexpected loss of their loved one. Petty was inspirational in rock music.
He suffered from cardiac arrest at his Malibu home in the early morning. He was sent to UCLA Medical Center. However, the artist’s life was unable to be revived.
Petty was surrounded by his family members, friends, and band mates. He died peacefully at 8:40 p.m. PT.
The musician’s passing has brought attention to a heart condition that can strike suddenly. Cardiac arrest can also take a life in a matter of moments.
Although the medical terms heart attacks and cardiac arrest are used simultaneously, they are not the same. A heart attack is caused when blood flow to the heart is blocked. Cardiac arrest is caused by a malfunction of the heart.
Chairman of Cardiovascular Medicine Dr. Steven Nissen stated that a heart attack is similar to a mechanical problem. Cardiac arrest is more-so closer to an electrical problem, according to his statement to CBS news.
Symptoms of a heart attack can occur weeks before it might strike. The symptoms include cold sweats and pains in the chest or other areas of the upper body. A victim suffering from cardiac arrest becomes unresponsive. Death can occur within minutes without treatment.
Don Felder, a former guitarist for the Eagles, taught Petty how to play guitar. Felder thought the rock legend how to perform rockabilly, and rock rhythm and blues.
Felder stated that the death of the rock star was similar to the feeling of losing a younger sibling. He said that one of the most rewarding emotions in life was watching one of his students grow into a successful, talented singer and songwriter. He believes Petty touched millions with his music.
Felder said that because there was no music school in his original hometown of Gainesville, Florida, he had to teach himself music. He spent a lot of time at the local music store after school.
The former Eagles guitarist would play guitar at the store so much that the business officially hired him as a music teacher. Petty walked into the store one day, at age 12 or 13, as the bass guitar player in a band called the Epics, or the Rucker Brothers Band. The current guitar players “flailed” on their instruments.
Petty did not want to continue singing and playing bass at the same time. Felder began to teach him to play the guitar and would visit his house to watch the band practice. The former Eagles member gave the garage band the opportunity to live up to their potential. Petty would later become inspirational in rock music.
In a 2006 interview with NPR, Petty stated that the Beatles and the Byrds were his inspiration. The late rock guitarist was the leader of the Heartbreakers and a member of the Traveling Wilburys. Petty was and will continue to be inspirational in rock music.
By John A. Federico
Edited by Jeanette Smith
CBS News: Tom Petty’s death from cardiac arrest shines spotlight on sudden killer
Billboard: Don Felder Remembers Tom Petty as a Friend, Student & ‘Fearless’ Performer
NPR: Tom Petty To ‘Fresh Air’: ‘The Songs Mean A Lot To People, And It Means A Lot To Me’
Featured Image Courtesy of Takahiro Kyono’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License