Autopsy reveals Tom Petty died from opioid-related overdose: 5 things to know

Last October, widely celebrated singer-songwriter Tom Petty died of a drug overdose involving multiple types of prescription opioids, according to report from The New York Times.

Here are five things to know.

1. Representatives for Mr. Petty initially attributed his Oct. 2 death, which occurred less than a week after he concluded a tour with his band the Heartbreakers in Los Angeles, to cardiac arrest. The late musician's death certificate released a week later listed the official cause of death as "deferred" pending an autopsy, according to the Times.

2. On Jan. 19, Jonathan Lucas, MD, chief medical examiner-coroner for Los Angeles County, said Mr. Petty died of an overdose. The autopsy revealed fentanyl, oxycodone, temazepam, alprazolam, citalopram, acetyl fentanyl and despropionyl fentanyl in Mr. Petty's system at the time of his death.

3. Petty was suffering from multiple physical ailments for which he was prescribed several medications, including fentanyl patches, according to a statement from his wife and daughter. The statement described the overdose as accidental.

"Tom's body suffered from many serious ailments including emphysema, knee problems and most significantly a fractured hip," said Mr. Petty's family in the statement. "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. On the day he died he was informed his hip had graduated to a full-on break, and it is our feeling that the pain was simply unbearable and was the cause for his over use of medication."

4. Petty's death mirrors Prince's 2016 overdose death in ways beyond the pair's shared status as iconic musicians. Both overdoses involved the extremely potent opioid fentanyl, and both Mr. Petty and Prince were chronic pain patients with hip injuries.

5. In their statement, Mr. Petty's wife and daughter said they hope the musician's death can help spread more awareness about the opioid epidemic and help save lives.

"[W]e recognize this report may spark a further discussion on the opioid crisis, and we feel that it is a healthy and necessary discussion and we hope in some way this report can save lives," said Mr. Petty's family. "Many people who overdose begin with a legitimate injury or simply do not understand the potency and deadly nature of these medications. On a positive note, we now know for certain he went painlessly and beautifully exhausted after doing what he loved the most, for one last time, performing live with his unmatchable rock band for his loyal fans on the biggest tour of his 40-plus year career. He was extremely proud of that achievement in the days before he passed."

More articles on opioids: 
Philadelphia files opioid lawsuit against drugmakers 
Risk of opioid misuse jumps 44% with each refill, study finds 
8 recent opioid epidemic lawsuits

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