Thomas Earl Petty (October 20, 1950 – October 2, 2017) was an American musician who was the lead vocalist and guitarist of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, formed in 1976. He previously led the band Mudcrutch, was a member of the late 1980s supergroup the Traveling Wilburys, and had success as a solo artist.
Petty had many hit records. Hit singles with the Heartbreakers include "Don't Do Me Like That" (1979), "Refugee" (1980), "The Waiting" (1981), "Don't Come Around Here No More" (1985) and "Learning to Fly" (1991). Petty's solo hits include "I Won't Back Down" (1989), "Free Fallin'" (1989), and "You Don't Know How It Feels" (1994). Solo or with the Heartbreakers, he had hit albums from the 1970s through the 2010s and sold more than 80 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Petty and the Heartbreakers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
Petty was honored as MusiCares Person of the Year in February 2017 for his contributions to music and for his philanthropy.In 2017, Petty died of an accidental drug overdose, at the age of 66, one week after the end of the Heartbreakers' 40th Anniversary Tour.