Petty had been suffering from knee problems, emphysema and a fractured hip prior to his death, and his family believes that the intense pain he was likely suffering caused him to take too much pain medication. Now, his longtime close friend and frequent collaborator Stevie Nicks has spoken out the devastation of losing such an important person in her life.
On Jan. 26, Nicks’ band, Fleetwood Mac, was being honored at MusiCares Person of the Year event at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Last year, Petty was the honoree, a distinction that Nicks said was very important to him. When Nicks took the stage at this year’s event, she talked through tears about the pain of losing her dear friend.
“The loss of Tom Petty has just about broken my heart,” the Fleetwood Mac singer said.
Prior to his death, Petty had embarked on a 40th anniversary tour with his band, the Heartbreakers. Nicks said that he was fighting his ailments throughout his performances and probably should have canceled for the sake of his health.
“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,” Nicks said. “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.”
Watch a clip of her emotional tribute below:
In the wake of the news regarding Petty’s cause of death, his daughter, AnnaKim, posted a message on Instagram that echoed Nicks’ sentiment that Petty was determined to keep touring because it’s what he loved doing.
“His recent death is tragic yet he died from doing what he loved and what will continue to keep his spirit alive,”she wrote alongside this photo of her dad in concert. “Touring with a broken hip because he would have it no other way. He loved performing.”
Continued condolences to Petty’s family and friends as they mourn this tragic loss of a music legend.