Stevie Nicks was at New York’s Radio City Music Hall on Friday night to be honored as a member of her band, Fleetwood Mac, which was named 2018’s MusiCares Person of the Year, a tribute meant to recognize an artist’s work and philanthropy.
But in her acceptance speech, the singer ended up paying homage to the late Tom Petty, her longtime friend who died in October not long after he was feted at last year’s MusiCares gala in Los Angeles.
Here’s what Nicks said:
“The loss of Tom Petty has just about broken my heart. His daughter, Adria Petty, is here today. She came in yesterday. …
“He was not only a good man to go down the river with, as Johnny Cash said, he was a great father and he was a great friend. He was one of my best friends. My heart will never get over this.
“He did the MusiCares thing last year — you probably know that. And he spent a lot of time after that night talking to me about how important it was to him. And maybe he was talking about it because Tom was ill.
“He was not well, and he fought his way through that tour. He should’ve canceled, and he should’ve just gone home and gone to the hospital. But not Tom. He was gonna go down that river.
“And so, God bless him, he finished his tour at the Hollywood Bowl. Three shows. And one week later, he died. But he got down the river.
“So, Tom, I know you’re standing next to me ’cause you always have been for so many years.”
Earlier this month, an autopsy report concluded that Petty’s death on Oct. 2 at age 66 was the result of an accidental overdose of prescription medications.
The family posted a statement on the Facebook page of Petty’s band, the Heartbreakers, after the report was released, stating, “Tom’s body suffered from many serious ailments including emphysema, knee problems and most significantly a fractured hip. 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.”
In his final interview, in which he spoke to The Times just five days before he died, he said he expected to undergo hip replacement surgery now that the Heartbreakers’ 40th anniversary tour had concluded.