Rock musician Tom Petty has died at the age of 66, a spokeswoman confirmed.

Spokeswoman Carla Sacks said Petty died on Monday night at the UCLA Medical Centre in Los Angeles after he suffered a cardiac arrest.

Petty, usually backed by his longtime band the Heartbreakers, was known for hits such as "Free Fallin'", "Refugee" and "American Girl".

The Florida native with the shaggy blond hair and gaunt features drew upon the Byrds, the Beatles and other musicians he loved while growing up in the 1960s.

He was also a member of the impromptu supergroup the Traveling Wilburys, which included Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne.

Petty and the Heartbreakers had recently completed a 40th anniversary tour, one he hinted would be their last.

Petty, whose worldwide sales topped 80 million records, was inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame in 2002.