Rock legend Tom Petty dies age 66

American rock legend Tom Petty has died aged 66 at the UCLA Santa Monica Hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest.

The 'American Girl' hitmaker's life support was reportedly switched off earlier after he was rushed to hospital from his Malibu home. 

"On behalf of the Tom Petty family, we are devastated to announce the untimely death of our father, husband, brother, leader and friend," says Tony Dimitriades, longtime manager of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers on behalf of the family.

"He suffered cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu in the early hours of this morning and was taken to UCLA Medical Center but could not be revived. He died peacefully at 8:40pm PT surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends."

Petty leaves behind his wife Dana two daughters, Adria and Kimberly.

His death comes just a week after he completed a large-scale 40th anniversary tour with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

He'd stated publicly the tour would probably be his last big one, telling Rolling Stone: "I have a granddaughter now I'd like to see as much as I can. I don't want to spend my life on the road."

Petty is one of the best-selling musicians of all-time, selling more than 80 million albums throughout his career.

He dropped out of school at the age of 17 to pursue his dream of becoming a musician, joining the band Mudcrutch. As a young boy he was inspired by the music of Elvis Presley and The Beatles.

Petty was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, and his career was filled with Billboard chart-topping hits including 'Free Fallin', 'The Waiting', 'I Won't Back Down', 'Learning to Fly', and 'You Got Lucky'. 

Newshub.