LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Rock icon Tom Petty’s death last year was caused by an accidental overdose of prescription medicine, his family said in a statement Friday.
According to the statement on the musician’s website, the coroner found Petty “passed away due to an accidental overdose as a result of taking a variety of medications.”
The statement from wife Dana and daughter Adria Petty goes on to say the musician insisted on pleasing his fans despite medical complications from emphysema, knee problems and a fractured hip.
The family said Petty was on medications for chronic pain, which are thought to have led to his death:
“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.”
A press release from the Los Angeles County Coroner indicates Petty died from “multisystem organ failure due to resuscitated cardiopulmonary arrest due to mixed drug toxicity” resulting from a mixture of fentanyl, oxycodone, temazepam, alprazolam, citalopram, acetylfentanyl and despropionyl fentanyl.
Oxycodone and fentanyl are powerful opiods, the latter listed as the drug that killed singer Prince in 2016. Temazepam is a sedative used to treat insomnia. Alprazolam, the generic name for Xanax, can be dangerous when mixed with opioids. Citalopram is an anti-depressant.
Acetylfentanyl and despropionyl fentanyl, drugs much more powerful than morphine, are not licensed for medical use.
Petty’s wife and daughter point to this tragic incident as a possible way to continue the discussion about the opioid epidemic in the U.S.
“In 2016, we had 64,000 overdose deaths, and 20,000 of those were by opiates,” addiction specialist Dr. Joseph Haraszti told CBS2 News.
The legendary, Florida-born rocker was famous for anthems of modern Americana like “American Girl” and “I Won’t Back Down.”
Petty died on October 2, 2017 in Los Angeles after being taken to the hospital for what was then reported to be a heart attack.
The cause of Petty’s death had been listed as “deferred” by medical authorities.