Family of US rocker Tom Petty "devastated" as he dies at 66

He rose to fame with ‘Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ in 1978

Family of US rocker Tom Petty "devastated" as he dies at 66

File photo of American musician, singer and songwriter Tom Petty on the Big Top stage at the Isle of Wight Festival in 2012 | Image: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images

American rocker Tom Petty has died after suffering a cardiac arrest.

The family of the 66-year-old say they are "devastated."

He was rushed to hospital in California after reportedly being found unconscious and not breathing.

Petty was playing three nights in Hollywood as part of a 40th anniversary US tour with his band The Heartbreakers.

He completed a major tour last Monday with the final show at the Hollywood Bowl.

He rose to fame with ‘Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ in 1978 with the hit "Breakdown."

The group went on to release a range of hits including "American Girl," "Free Fallin" and "Listen to Her Heart."

A statement on behalf of his family reads: "We are devastated to announce the untimely death of our father, husband, brother, leader and friend".

They say he suffered cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu and was taken to hospital in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The statement adds that "he died peacefully... surrounded by family, his bandmates, and friends".