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Tom Petty Died from Accidental Drug Overdose Involving Opioids, Coroner Says
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Tom Petty Died from Accidental Drug Overdose Involving Opioids, Coroner Says

Source: nytimes.com

Tom Petty, the chart-topping singer and songwriter, died in October from an accidental drug overdose as a result of mixing medications that included opioids, the medical examiner-coroner for the county of Los Angeles announced on Friday, ending the mystery surrounding his sudden death last year.

The coroner, Jonathan Lucas, said that Mr. Petty’s system showed traces of the drugs fentanyl, oxycodone, temazepam, alprazolam, citalopram, acetyl fentanyl and despropionyl fentanyl.

Barely a week after Mr. Petty, 66, had concluded a tour with his band, the Heartbreakers, with two shows at the Hollywood Bowl, representatives said the singer had suffered cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu, Calif. on Oct. 2. But Mr. Petty’s official death certificate, released about a week later, listed his cause of death as “deferred” pending an autopsy.

In a statement posted to Mr. Petty’s Facebook page on Friday, his wife, Dana, and daughter, Adria, wrote that Mr. Petty suffered from “many serious ailments including emphysema, knee problems and most significantly a fractured hip,” but that he continued to tour, worsening his conditions. “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,” the statement said.

They said: “We knew before the report was shared with us that he was prescribed various pain medications for a multitude of issues including Fentanyl patches and we feel confident that this was, as the coroner found, an unfortunate accident.”

“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,” Mr. Petty’s family said. “Many people who overdose begin with a legitimate injury or simply do not understand the potency and deadly nature of these medications.”

In 2016, the pop singer Prince was found to have died from an accidental overdose of self-administered fentanyl, a synthetic opiate estimated to be more than 50 times more powerful than heroin. In 2015, federal officials said that incidents and overdoses with fentanyl were “occurring at an alarming rate throughout the United States.” Drug deaths involving fentanyl more than doubled from 2015 to 2016, according to the governmental account of nationwide drug deaths last year.

Prince, his friends and associates said after his death, also suffered from chronic hip pain that was exacerbated by a breakneck touring schedule, and he sought to hide what became a serious opiate addiction.

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