Stevie Nicks Said Tom Petty Was ‘Not Well’ Before His Death: ‘He Should’ve Just Gone Home’

Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty were so close that Nicks was known as an honorary Heartbreaker. She performed with him on multiple occasions, including on Petty’s final tour in 2017. She shared that toward the end of his life, Petty was “not well.” Nicks asserted her belief that he should have taken time to rest, even though he continued performing until the week before his death. Nicks also shared the impact that the loss had on her. 

Stevie Nicks talks into Tom Petty's ear. He holds a guitar and wears sunglasses.
Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty | Lester Cohen/WireImage

Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty became close friends in the 1980s

When Nicks first met Petty, she was working on her debut solo album and wanted him to write her a song. She was a huge fan of the Heartbreakers, but they didn’t feel as warmly toward her.

“We were a little wary of Stevie,” Petty said in the book Conversations With Tom Petty, per American Songwriter. “We didn’t quite know whether to like Stevie or not, because we kind of saw this big corporate rock band, Fleetwood Mac, which was wrong, they were actually artistic people. But in those days, nobody trusted that sort of thing and we just kept thinking, ‘What does she want from us?’”

Ultimately, though, Nicks got exactly what she wanted and more. She collaborated with Petty on the song “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” and became his close friend

“She came into my life like a rocket, just refusing to go away,” Petty said, per Petty: The Biography by Warren Zanes.

Nicks shared that he was ill toward the end of his life

In 2017, Petty embarked on a tour to celebrate his 40th anniversary with the Heartbreakers. According to those close to him, he had a hairline fracture in his left hip but determinedly still played.

“I don’t know how it happened,” his manager Tony Dimitriades told Rolling Stone. “I don’t think he even knew when it happened.”

At the MusiCares Person of the Year in 2018, Nicks shared that Petty was thrilled to have been honored by the ceremony the previous year.

“Maybe he was talking about it because [he] was ill,” she said, per HuffPost. “He was not well.”

Nicks believed that Petty should have ended the tour early.

“He should’ve canceled, and he should’ve just gone home and gone to the hospital. But not Tom,” she said. “He was gonna go down that river. And so, God bless him, he finished his tour at the Hollywood Bowl. Three shows. And one week later he died — but he got down the river. So Tom, I know you’re standing next to me cause you always have been for so many years.”

Petty reportedly refused to consider canceling. When Dimitriades said he couldn’t play with the injury, the musician responded, “Why not? I’ll do it in a chair if I have to.”

Stevie Nicks said she’ll never fully recover from Tom Petty’s death

When Petty died, Nicks lost a friend of nearly 40 years. She shared that it was challenging to heal after his death.

“The loss of Tom Petty has just about broken my heart,” she said. “He was not only a good man to go down the river with, as Johnny Cash said, he was a great father, and he was a great friend. He was one of my best friends. My heart will never get over this.”

RELATED: Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty Got Into a Fight After He Insulted Her: ‘How Dare You Say That to Me?’