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01/29/2018 03:52 pm ET

Stevie Nicks Says Close Friend Tom Petty ‘Was Not Well’ Before His Death

“He should’ve canceled, and he should’ve just gone home and gone to the hospital. But not Tom. He was gonna go down that river.”

Musician Stevie Nicks spoke openly about how her close friend and collaborator Tom Petty was suffering from an undisclosed illness before his death during an emotional speech on Friday.

While speaking at Fleetwood Mac’s MusiCares Person of the Year induction ceremony, Nicks mentioned Petty, who won the honor the previous year. The 69-year-old singer said that after last year’s ceremony, Petty spent a lot of time “talking to me about how important it was to him. And maybe he was talking about it because [he] was ill. He was not well.”

Just prior to the rock icon’s death in October, Petty had embarked on a tour with the Heartbreakers from mid- to late 2017 to commemorate their 40th anniversary as a band. According to Nicks, Petty “fought his way through that tour.”

“He should’ve canceled, and he should’ve just gone home and gone to the hospital. But not Tom. 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.”

Nicks also touched on the tremendous amount of grief she’s felt since Petty’s death, which his family confirmed earlier this month was caused by an accidental drug overdose.

“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.” 

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