Entertainment

Tom Petty remembered as a ‘tender southern gent in life' in star tributes

Tributes have poured in from the world of music and beyond following the singer's death.

The widow and son of the late Beatle George Harrison have hailed Tom Petty as “a poet and a music master on stage” following his death at the age of 66.

Petty’s family announced in a statement he had died after suffering a cardiac arrest at his home.

Tom Petty death
The singer and songwriter had suffered a cardiac arrest (PA)

Harrison’s widow, Olivia, and son, Dhani, said in a statement to the Press Association: “Tom was a tender southern gent in life, a poet and a music master on stage.

“He had a rocking chair wisdom that brought everything back down to earth.

“We will love and miss him for the rest of our days.

“Our thoughts are with his family and all the Heartbreakers.”

Another former Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney, also sent his best wishes to Petty’s family.

Sir Paul Tweeted: “Sending love to Tom Petty and his family at this difficult time.”

Their Beatles bandmate, Ringo Starr, shared a nostalgic photo of himself in conversation with Petty and posted: “God bless Tom Petty peace and love to his family I’m sure going to miss you Tom.”

Singer Peter Gabriel posted a long message on Twitter, writing: “Very sad to say goodbye to Tom Petty, he was a kind and generous man, an excellent musician and writer and we had daughters who have grown up together since their friendship at Sarah Lawrence College.”

Monty Python star Eric Idle expressed his sadness at the news, adding: “I knew him a little and a kinder, sweeter and more gentle man you couldn’t know.”

Bob Dylan told Rolling Stone magazine told of his “shock” upon hearing the news that his close friend and former Traveling Wilburys bandmate had died.

The 76-year-old said: “It’s shocking, crushing news. I thought the world of Tom. He was a great performer, full of the light, a friend, and I’ll never forget him.”

Meanwhile, singer John Mayer wrote on Instagram: “Musicians leave behind much more than records. They leave with us a shared dream space. A place we can continue to visit, even if after its creator is gone. Tom Petty’s California is my favourite California.”

Tom Petty. One of the high priests of the Sonic Church of California. He wasn’t born there, but he planted so many songs there, it’s where his music takes place in my mind. Musically speaking, California is a repository for dreams. Every great song and artist associated with it adds a patch to that sun-faded tapestry. The songs spark these visions, some of them memories, and some of them just seen for the first time in the music and revisited throughout the years. Petty was a major architect of the spirit that makes musicians want to flock to California and write their songs and live the life that both authors them and is authored by them. Growing up a kid in suburban Connecticut in the late ‘80s, Tom Petty’s music was the only thing like it, both on the radio and on MTV. He made me believe in two things: that songwriting was everything, and that California must have felt like his music sounded. It did. And it always will. Musicians leave behind much more than records. They leave with us a shared dream space. A place we can continue to visit, even if after its creator is gone. Tom Petty’s California is my favorite California. It’s the one he painted both photo-real and abstract. It’s the one, like his music always portrayed, that straddles the dichotomy between proletariat and paradise; somewhere between the power lines and the palm trees, between Reseda and Malibu, between restlessness and ecstatic love. A legend reaches the other side. Rest In Peace

A post shared by johnmayer (@johnmayer) on

Among other stars to pay their respects, singer Sheryl Crow said Petty’s death signalled that the “music has died”.

Brian May, formerly of Queen fame, added: “Shocked and so sad at the passing of Tom Petty. RIP. Bri.”

Tony Dimitriades, manager of Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers, wrote in a statement that Petty died peacefully surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends.

Petty is survived by his second wife, Dana York, and had two daughters, Adria and Kimberly. He sold more than 80 million records during a career that spanned over five decades.

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