News & Politics

Tom Petty's Family Publicly Releases Cause of Death to Help Forward Opioid Crisis Discussion

The rocker's death was confirmed as an accidental overdose.

Photo Credit: David W. Baker

Legendary rocker Tom Petty's cause of death was confirmed to be an accidental drug overdose, according to a new statement from his family. Petty was 66 years old at the time of his death.

“Our family sat together this morning with the medical examiner-coroner’s office and we were informed of their final analysis that Tom Petty passed away due to an accidental drug overdose as a result of taking a variety of medications,” the family's statement read.

Following a pattern familiar to families throughout the country, Petty's overdose coincided with a pain-related medical issue. Fentanyl, a synthetic opiate prescribed for pain, was identified by name in the statement.

“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,” the statement continued.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction to prescription or recreational drugs, inform your health care provider or call the free National Helpline for a referral at 1-800-662-4357.

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Chris Sosa is the former Senior Editor of AlterNet. His work also appears in Mic, Salon, Care2, Huffington Post and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisSosa.