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BURBANK, CA -SEPTEMBER 24: Former Beatle Ringo Starr (R) and musician Tom Petty embrace at a special screening at the Steven J. Ross Theater at Warner Bros. Studios of the film ''Concert for George" September 24, 2003 in Burbank, California. The documentary celebrates the music of former Beatle George Harrison through performances by legendary musicians.

Ringo Starr is among the many musician friends who have been mourning Tom Petty since his shocking death on October 2 from a cardiac arrest.

It was, in fact, something of a double whammy for Starr, who was in Las Vegas that day — the day after the shootings at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival:

“Y’know, Vegas was on Sunday the madness went on here. Just by chance I booked to come here Monday to see some people, which I did, and the vibe was pretty low, understandably of course. Then in the middle of this meeting someone turned to me and said, ‘Tom Petty‘s dead.’ ‘Oh my God! What else can go down?” It was a shock, y’know. When you first hear it, it’s like, ‘What?!’ Like when I heard Elvis was dead, it’s like, ‘What?!’ It has to sink in.”

Starr was featured in Petty‘s 1989 video for “I Won’t Back Down,” and the two were close friends for many years.

“I’ll miss Tom. Tom was a good friend. I played with Tom. Tom played with me. I got to know him over the years, really got to know him when he was in the Wilburys ’cause George (Harrison) and that…All I can say really is I’ll miss Tom, and God bless him and his family.”

Petty was remembered Monday (October 16) during a private funeral ceremony in Los Angeles. Starr is playing an eight-show Las Vegas residency with his All-Starr Band before hitting the road for more tour dates through November 16.


Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.

Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock news blogger who's well-versed in etiquette and extraordinarily nice. #TransRightsAreHumanRights