Tom Petty died Monday after being found unconscious, under cardiac arrest at his home. He was 66-years-old. His death cuts deep for longtime fans, like Dawn Fredrich of Sussex.
“It's like losing a family number, because I can tell you any song and bring a personal story or something too it,” she said. “When I got the news, I didn’t want to believe it. To know there’s not going to be another concert, makes me really sad.”
Since Dawn was 14, she’s been at every Tom Petty show in Wisconsin. Most recently in July, when he headlined Summerfest for two nights in a row.
“When I was young, we’d go to the arena for $7.50 and see him,” she said. “His music has always spoken to me, and he’s just a good man.”
Since then, she's clipped-out every photo and article about him, and keeps them with all of her Tom Petty memorabilia. She also has a Tom Petty tattoo.
One of her greatest joys was a quick interaction before a Tom Petty concert.
“I saw him coming from the distance,” she said. “I yelled his name, told him I loved him, and that I couldn’t wait to see his show. He waved back. I almost passed out. I was telling everyone that Tom Petty waved at me.”
Now, reflecting on his death, Dawn can't help but be thankful for what he gave her.
“He has this one song called Mystic Eyes, where he sings ‘I just want to give you a moment where everything in life is alright,’ and for me he gave me so many of those moments,” she said. “He made everything alright. He gave me so many smiles.”
Tom Petty headlined the Summerfest amphitheater more than any other act. He was also the only act in Summerfest history to headline two consecutive nights on three different occasions. Milwaukee loved him.