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Rock iconoclast Tom Petty dead

IANS | Los Angeles |

Tom Petty, a songwriter who melded California rock with a deep, stubborn Southern heritage, died on Monday after suffering cardiac arrest. He was 66.

Tony Dimitriades, Petty’s longtime manager, confirmed the death, reports The New York Times.

Recording with The Heartbreakers, the band he formed in the mid-1970s, and on his own, Petty wrote pithy, hardheaded songs that gave a contemporary clarity to 1960s roots. His voice was grainy and unpretty, with a Florida drawl that he proudly displayed.

Petty’s songs were staples of FM rock radio through decades, and with hits like Refugee, Don’t Come Around Here No More, Free Fallin‘ and Into the Great Wide Open.

He also sold millions of albums and headlined arenas and festivals well into 2017. He played the Super Bowl halftime show in 2008 and entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.