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Initial erroneous reports about Tom Petty's death cause confusion

(Photo: Amy Harris/Invision/AP, file)

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 had 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.

Both CBS and Variety then cited TMZ reporting that says Petty is "clinging to life" after suffering cardiac arrest until his death was confirmed later Monday night.

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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