In the ’80s, Tom Petty appeared on the late Garry Shandling’s Showtime series It’s Garry Shandling’s Show a number of times.  Now, the rocker is remembering his late friend, who he says was an “incredibly original talent.”

Shandling died unexpectedly last week at age 66.  In a statement provided to ABC Radio, Petty says Shandling was “just a really decent guy,” and says his other series, The Larry Sanders Show, represents “some of the best TV work ever done.” 

The two first met in the mid-’80s, when Petty’s daughter was an actress.  While she was auditioning for another show, they asked her if her dad would be interested in appearing on It’s Garry Shandling’s Show.

Petty recalls, “She told them that I loved that show. So Garry phoned me and we talked a while. I wound up going on his show four or five times. And it was lots of fun and we remained friends from then on out.  We had a very strong friendship: we kept in touch all that time.”

Petty adds that Garry would come to his concerts and they’d hang out, adding, “I went to his house many times. And he would come to my house. It was a comfortable friendship where if he came over I didn’t feel like I had to entertain him, and it was the same way back.   He had an incredibly original talent, and as a man I can’t say enough about him.”

Petty finishes by saying, “He was more than a showbiz acquaintance to me, he was a dear friend, and I will miss him.”

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