Initial erroneous Tom Petty death reports cause confusion

Tom Petty
FILE - In this Sept. 17, 2017 file photo, Tom Petty of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers appears at KAABOO 2017 in San Diego, Calif. A spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department says it has no information on the well-being of Tom Petty and its spokespeople did not provide info CBS News used to report the rocker had died. News outlets reported Monday, Oct. 2, that Petty was dead at age 66. CBS did not cite a source in its story, but tweeted that LAPD confirmed Petty’s death. CBS now says he is “clinging to life.” (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — For several hours Monday, music lovers believed Tom Petty was dead.

Courtney Love, Talib Kweli, Kid Rock, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Stanley and Lin-Manuel Miranda were among scores of fans posting remembrances on Twitter, where Petty was the top worldwide trending topic Monday afternoon. 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 8:40 p.m. 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.

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.”

“We apologize for any inconvenience in this reporting,” the department said.

CBS and Variety amended their stories. CBS News also released a statement maintaining that it “reported information obtained officially from the LAPD about Tom Petty.”

“The LAPD later said it was not in a position to confirm information about the singer,” the statement said.

An LAPD spokesman said in an interview Monday that its spokespeople did not respond to any incident involving Petty. Officer Tony Im said he could not rule out that someone in the department spoke to reporters, but said the LAPD has no investigative role in the matter.

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Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at http://www.twitter.com/APSandy .