Tom Petty: How Much Was the Musician Worth at the Time of His Death?

Known for his song-writing ability and sometimes his fashion, “Free Fallin’” and “American Girl” singer, Tom Petty left a big mark on the music industry and fans. Keep reading to learn about Petty’s career and his net worth.

How old was Tom Petty at the time of his death?

Petty died at the age of 66, according to Newsweek, 18 days shy of his 67th birthday. Petty went into full cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu, Calif., and after being rushed to the hospital, was put on life support. It was later determined that Petty showed no signs of brain activity and he was then taken off life support.

Tom Petty’s net worth

The band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, were worth an estimated $38 million in 2011, according to Forbes. They toured that year, which attributed to their ranking amongst the world’s highest-paid musicians.

While his Petty’s personal net worth at the time of his death couldn’t be ascertained, according to Money, his previous earnings were available. For instance, in 2014 he made $6.7 million in sales from the release of his first No. 1 album, Hypnotic Eye.

Tom Petty in 2012.
Tom Petty of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers performs on the main stage on day 2 of The Isle of Wight Festival at Seaclose Park on June 22, 2012, in Newport, Isle of Wight. | Samir Hussein/Getty Images

In 2015, Petty won a lawsuit against singer Sam Smith because of similarities between Smith’s hit song “Stay With Me” and Petty’s hit song “I Won’t Back Down,” according to Newsweek.

Petty, along with Jeff Lynne, earned a co-writing credit on Smith’s song as well as royalties which definitely increased Petty’s bottom line.

While his exact net worth is unknown, there are ballpark figures on Petty’s fortune. The Richest calculated Petty’s net worth to be $95 million as did Celebrity Net Worth.

Childhood and early years

Born in Gainsville, Fla., on Oct. 20, 1950, Petty grew up admiring Elvis Presley and the Beatles, according to Biography.

Tom Petty
Tom Petty in New York, 1977. | Michael Putland/Getty Images

He learned to play guitar and by the age of 17 dropped out of high school to pursue his music career. Petty moved to California and after a failed attempt at making it big with the band Mudcrutch, formed Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench, Ron Blair, Stan Lynch, and Petty made up the band. They signed a record deal and started making music, releasing their first album in Nov. 1976 to little success.

Their second studio album, You’re Gonna Get It!, performed much better. The band continued to release music together and over time, became very successful. They released hits such as “Refugee,” “Here Comes My Girl” and “Don’t Do Me Like That.”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Petty’s career as a solo artist

After a successful run with the Traveling Wilburys — a band made up of Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, George Harrison, Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynne — Petty embarked on a solo career.

He released his first solo album, Full Moon Fever, in 1989, featuring the hit song “Free Fallin.’” Although Petty pursued a solo career, he continued working with his bandmates until his death.

Grammy wins

Petty won three Grammy awards and was nominated 18 times, according to the Recording Academy. Below is a list of Petty’s Grammy wins:

  1. 1989: Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, Traveling Wilburys Volume One.
  2. 1995: Best Male Rock Vocal Performance, “You Don’t Know How It Feels.”
  3. 2008: Best Long Form Music Video, “Runnin’ Down A Dream.”