Chris Stapleton Reveals the Last Thing Tom Petty Said to Him

Chris Stapleton remembers the magical moments he spent with rock idol Tom Petty in the months before his unexpected death in October.

The country artist lived out a dream of performing with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers for three shows this summer. Stapleton hoped more collaborations with the rock legend would come up in the future, and he said Petty agreed.

“I got to spend a few minutes with Tom, talking, and the last thing he said to me was, ‘I hope we get to do more of this,’ ” Stapleton told Taste of Country. “I left there thinking that we would get to do more of it, and I’m so heartbroken and sad that he’s no longer with us.”

“He’s given us so much music — and brought so much joy to so many people who have listened to his songs and his songwriting, and his singing and his guitar playing,” Stapleton added.

The “Tennessee Whiskey” crooner said playing with Petty and the Heartbreakers was a dream he had for years. His camp had discussed the collaboration for about two years before it actually happened — so long that Stapleton didn’t think they were serious.

“I thought it was just some kind of running booking-agent joke…” he admitted. “And it actually happened.”

"I would not trade anything for those shows, and that brief moment I got to speak with Tom. It was a highlight of the year for me,” he said.

Stapleton admitted that Petty and his band — guitarist Mike Campbell in particular — heavily influenced his own music career.

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“I play a [Fender] Princeton [guitar] because Mike Campbell plays a Princeton,” Stapleton said. “I’ve done a lot of things because I think Mike Campbell would do it.”

Petty died on October 2 after suffering full cardiac arrest at his Malibu home. He was taken to UCLA Medical Center but could not be revived. The "Free Fallin'" singer's death certificated has surfaced in the time since his death, but the cause of death remains unclear.