The 69-year-old star was devastated by the loss of her longtime friend from an accidental drug overdose in October and paid tribute to Tom, 66, while accepting the 2018 MusiCares Person of the Year Award alongside her Fleetwood Mac bandmates in New York on Friday (26.01.18).
She said: ''The loss of Tom Petty has just about broken my heart. He was not only a good man to go down the river with as Johnny Cash said but he was a great father and a great friend. He was one of my best friends. My heart will never get over this.
''He did the MusiCares thing last year and he spent a lot of time after that night talking about how important it was to him and maybe he was talking about it because Tom was ill. He was not well and he fought his way through that tour. He should have canceled. He should have just gone home and go to the hospital. But not Tom, he was going to go down that river.
''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 are standing next to me because you always have been for so many years.''
Earlier this month the coroner ruled that the 'I Won't Back Down' hitmaker died after an ''over use of medication''.
The family said in a statement, posted to Tom's official website: ''Unfortunately, Tom's body suffered from many serious ailments including emphysema, knee problems and most significantly a fractured hip. Despite this painful injury he insisted on keeping his commitment to his fans and he toured for 53 dates with a fractured hip and, as he did, it worsened to a more serious injury.
''On the day he died he was informed his hip had graduated to a full on break and it is our feeling that the pain was simply unbearable and was the cause for his over use of medication.''
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