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Tom Petty’s daughter shares thoughts after release of autopsy report

Grammy-award winning rocker Tom Petty, photographed at his home in Malibu on Sept. 27, 2017, "died ... doing what he loved," his daughter has written on Instagram.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

One of Tom Petty’s children has gone public with her response to the autopsy report that concluded that his death on Oct. 2 at age 66 was the result of an accidental overdose of prescription medications.

In the wake of that report, there’s been considerable discussion over whether he’d lapsed back into the addiction from which he’d recovered years ago, a theory that AnnaKim Petty dismissed outright in the note she posted this week on her Instagram account.

“My dad in the past openly overcame a crippling drug problem with no shame,” she wrote. “His recent death is tragic, yet he died from doing what he loved and what will continue to keep his spirit alive: touring with a broken hip, because he would have it no other way.

“He loved performing,” she continued. “There are no hypothetical questions — I love my dad and feel he is an immortal badass. The amount of pain his hip caused was beyond a normal surgery. He is at peace, out of pain. I thank you for respecting my family’s privacy and inviting love during this shocking new chapter.

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“My dad loved his life and left behind so much love in his music for us to share,” she wrote. “Invite love; listen to Tom Petty. He passed away with his family in a room filled with love. I feel very connected to him. Give love to everyone you meet. We are connected by love. Much love to you and much love to u dad.”

The family posted a statement on the Heartbreakers’ Facebook page after the report was released Friday 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.

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“On the day he died,” the family wrote, “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.”

The Pettys’ note added, “As a family we 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. Many people who overdose begin with a legitimate injury or simply do not understand the potency and deadly nature of these medications.”

As AnnaKim put it in the opening of her Instagram note: “Thomas Earl Petty lived a million lifetimes in one. He overcame much psychic pain from an abusive childhood by transforming his anger into the greatest rock n roll band ever.”

randy.lewis@latimes.com

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