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Rock Legend Tom Petty Dies at 66

Tom Petty became a bonafide rock star after bursting on the music scene in 1976 with his group Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

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    Rock Legend Tom Petty Dies at 66
    Kaaboo
    Tom Petty performing at Kaaboo on Sept. 17.

    Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Tom Petty, who appeared at the Kaaboo festival in Del Mar just two weeks ago, died Monday in California, said Tony Dimitriades, longtime manager of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, on behalf of the family. Petty was 66.

    The rock legend, known for a string of hits including "Free Fallin'," suffered cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu early Monday and was taken to UCLA Medical Center, according to Dimitriades. Petty could not be revived and died at 8:40 p.m. PT surrounded by his family, friends and bandmates.

    Petty and his band had numerous hits over several decades, including “American Girl,” “Free Fallin’,” “Refugee” and “I Won’t Back Down.”

    Closing out Kaaboo on Sept. 17, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers played a spirited two-hour set full of jokes and unforgettable music, opening with the first song ("Rockin' Around (With You)" from his self-titled first album, and ending with the last song ("American Girl") from the same release. Since his first full-length with the Heartbreakers was released in 1976, Petty and his band had played thousands of shows and sold millions of records.

    Petty was also a member of the supergroup collective the Traveling Wilburys in the late ’80s alongside Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne.

    As news of his death spread, friends and fans took to social media to express their condolences.

    "Too much sadness today.... R.I.P.," SoundDiego concert photographer Alex Matthews posted on Facebook, a sentiment shared by virtually all who heard the news. 

    "Too much sadness today.... R.I.P.," SoundDiego concert photographer Alex Matthews posted on Facebook,
    a sentiment shared by virtually all who heard the news. "Gutted..." SoundDiego and 91x's Tim Pyles
    concurred in his post."Too much sadness today.... R.I.P.," SoundDiego concert photographer Alex Matthews posted on Facebook, a sentiment shared by virtually all who heard the new