Relatives of rock legend Tom Petty released a statement Friday revealing the cause of his death in October at the age of 66.
According to a medical examiner’s report, his family wrote, he “passed away due to an accidental drug overdose and as a result of taking a variety of medications.”
Petty had battled declining health prior to breaking his hip, an injury that should have sidelined him.
“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,” the statement read.
Our family sat together this morning with the Medical Examiner – Coroner’s office and we were informed of their final…
Relatives speculated that “the pain was simply unbearable” and led him to abuse medication.
“We knew before the report was shared with us that he was prescribed various pain medications for a multitude of issues including Fentanyl patches and we feel confident that this was, as the coroner found, an unfortunate accident,” the family statement continued.
Even as they deal with the personal loss and grief over the cause of his death, Petty’s family expressed hope that the story will lead to further progress in the effort to combat the opioid crisis.
“Many people who overdose begin with a legitimate injury or simply do not understand the potency and deadly nature of these medications,” the statement read.
The family asked for privacy during the grieving process, acknowledging that many of Petty’s fans also mourning his death.
One “positive note” his relatives shared was that they “know for certain” he died “painlessly and beautifully” after performing one last concert with his band, the Heartbreakers.
[Featured image: Tom Petty/Associated Press]