Legendary musician Tom Petty died Monday after he was taken off life support. He was 66-years old and was surrounded by family members, band members and friends at his hospital bed when he died.
Tony Dimitriade, Petty’s manager, released a statement on behalf of his family saying he passed away peacefully at 11:40 p.m. Eastern.
TMZ reported earlier Monday that Petty was “clinging to life” after he was found unconscious and in “full cardiac arrest” at his home in Malibu, California on Sunday. The news outlet said emergency personnel who rushed to the scene were unable to find a pulse on Petty, and his condition was critical from the moment he was transported to UCLA Santa Monica Hospital. He was taken off life support at the hospital, where he died hours later.
Petty’s best known for his time with the band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The singer, who sold over 80 million records in his lifetime, recently ended a nationwide tour with its last stop being at the Hollywood Bowl last Monday.
Petty was married twice in his life, most recently to 53-year-old Dana York Epperson. The couple met at one of Petty’s shows during the 1990s, but didn’t marry until over 10 years later.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Couple Met When She Attended One of His Concerts
Petty’s first marriage was to Jane Benyo. The two were childhood sweethearts and finally entered a relationship when they were teenagers. They subsequently got married on March 31, 1974, right before he started on his successful musical career.
However, Benyo eventually found her way into drugs — as did Petty — and the couple finalized their divorced on September 9, 1996.
According to The Daily Mail, Petty met York at a concert in Texas during in 1991, but they didn’t reconnect until 1996 when her divorce with her first husband was finalized.
“Tom and Dana both felt as though they had known each other their entire lives and were fast falling in love,” Daily Mail reported.
2. Petty & York Were Married for Over 16 Years
After many years of dating, Petty and York got married on June 3, 2001. According to Rolling Stone, they got married after he had consecutive sold-out shows at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas.
Their wedding was attended by “a few close family and friends” in what was described as a “low-key ceremony.” After the wedding, the “raucous” wedding guests went to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Vegas and celebrated.
Petty told PEOPLE that the first ceremony was just to “get the legal stuff out of the way” and they saved a bigger ceremony for later on. They also held a second wedding ceremony at their home in Malibu on June 21, 2001, PEOPLE Magazine reported in 2001. That ceremony was officiated by Little Richard.
3. Petty Credited York With ‘Saving’ Him When He Went Through a Drug Addiction
Petty said some of the lowest points of his lifetime were the years he was addicted to drugs. Being a rock star, he admitted to dabbling into cocaine, but his heroin addiction is eventually what led him to get assistance. In an autobiography of Petty’s life, he said that longtime friend and fellow musician Stevie Nicks had an “intense, firey” relationship with him, but the two ended up as lifelong friends.
Nicks said in the book that she would “never imagine, not in a million years that Tom Petty would start using heroin.”
But he did, and an addiction to the drug followed. The autobiography said Petty didn’t want York to know about his drug use, so he’d often hide it from her. Eventually, though, she found out about it, and he credits her as being the person who ended up saving his life.
Petty was hospitalized when he admitted to a therapist that he was a drug addict, and York awaited him when he got through his addiction, he said in the book.
4. York Is From Michigan & Worked in Education
According to a 2013 article by MLive.com, York graduated in 1982 from Flushing High School in Michigan in 1982. Petty and York would often travel back to the Midwestern state.
In a 2005 Journal story, York said Petty would travel with her back to Genessee County, Michigan, where she grew up. The couple made visits to their mother’s home in Fenton for Thanksgiving.
“I drove him around Flushing, by Flushing Park and the old house,” she said in the article. “It was pretty cool. It was snowing like crazy and deer were out. It was beautiful. It was pretty weird, because no one knew he was there.”
York was born in Flint, Michigan and worked in education. According to Daily Entertainment News, she was a principal at University High School in Ferndale, Michigan.
5. Petty & York Never Had Children Together
Though they were married or 16 years, Petty and York never had children together. Petty’s two children come from his marriage with Benyo. They had two daughters together: Adria and AnnaKim Violette. Adria found success in the entertainment industry as a music video director and directed music videos for several big names, including Beyonce and Coldplay. AnnaKim is an artist and fashion designer.
Dana has a son named Dylan from her previous marriage, who was seen at various events with his mother and stepfather.