How News of Tom Petty's Death Got So Mangled

The confusion started with CBS News and the LAPD
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 3, 2017 7:27 AM CDT
How Tom Petty 'Died Twice in One Day'
In this Oct. 4, 2006 file photo, singer Tom Petty performs in Glendale, Ariz.   (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

For several hours Monday, music lovers believed Tom Petty was dead. Courtney Love, Talib Kweli, and Kid Rock were among scores of fans posting remembrances on Twitter. A memorial was scheduled for his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But the 66-year-old entertainer was still alive at the time, and news outlets that announced his death Monday were forced to retract their stories. The Walk of Fame tribute was canceled. The reports, as it turned out, were merely premature. Petty's publicist confirmed late Monday that the rocker died at 8:40pm after having suffered cardiac arrest. The unusual chain of events led some to quip online that Petty went out in true rock star fashion—by dying twice in one day. So what happened?

The AP explains the confusion started with CBS News and the Los Angeles Police Department. CBS published Petty's obituary after tweeting that the LAPD had confirmed his death. The trade paper Variety followed, citing an unnamed source confirming the rocker's death. Then the LAPD issued a statement saying it has no information on Petty's condition and that "initial information was inadvertently provided to some media sources." CBS and Variety amended their stories, though CBS News released a statement maintaining that it "reported information obtained officially from the LAPD." An LAPD rep said Monday he could not rule out that someone in the department spoke to reporters, but said the LAPD has no investigative role in the matter. (More Tom Petty stories.)

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