It was my birthday, October 2nd, when I first got the news. Tom Petty had just passed away early in the morning. On my way to school, every classic rock radio station was doing their commemoration to him. According to the radio station I was listening to, he was not only not breathing, but also in full cardiac arrest; he was then announced dead. I wouldn’t call myself a huge fan of Tom Petty’s music, but I am a huge fan of talent. Undoubtedly, I thus had and still have respect for him and his success. This news was heartbreaking for everyone–but not for long.
Miraculously, he was announced alive later that day. It was a mistake surely to create chaos. Popular news sources like CBS and USA TODAY as well as Variety, had announced that Tom Petty had died. Shortly after, TMZ, the first to announce his hospitalization, not his death, reported that Petty was in fact not dead, and that he was barely clinging onto life after being taken off of life support. The LAPD, CBS’s primary cited source, could no longer confirm his passing. They released this statement on Twitter:
“The LAPD has no information about the passing of singer Tom Petty. Initial information was inadvertantly provided to some media sources.”
Oh, and yes, they did actually misspell “inadvertently.”
Regardless, hours later, reports began circling of his death. This time, it wasn’t a mistake. In a message that finally put an end to all of the commotion, Tom Petty was announced dead at 8:40 pm PDT at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, California. He was 66 years old.
Sadly, this debacle gave journalism a bad reputation that it really didn’t need, especially now. The scandal took away from the importance of such a solemn event and was most certainly a slap in the face for Tom Petty, his family, and his friends, and especially to journalism as a whole. However, all hope is not lost because Tom Petty will live on through his music, his friends, and his family. One friend in particular had some choice words to say:
“I thought the world of Tom… He was a great performer, full of the light, a friend, and I’ll never forget him.”
This anonymous man was his close friend and bandmate, the illustrious Bob Dylan.
By: Garrett Boyce ’19, Online Editor