Guitarist Gary Rossington, the last founding member of the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, has died, the band announced on their official Facebook page Sunday evening. He is 71 years old.
“It is with our deepest sympathies and sadness that we have lost our brother, friend, family member, songwriter and guitarist Gary Rossington today,” their statement read.
“Gary is now in heaven with his Skynyrd brothers and family, playing beautifully as always. Please keep Dale, Mary, Annie and the entire Rossington family in your prayers and respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time,” the statement continued.
No cause of death was reported. The guitarist battled several heart problems, including an emergency heart surgery during the band’s Big Wheels Keep On Turn tour in 2021.
Death of a Guitarist falls right Five A few months before Lynyrd Skynyrd started Sharp Dressed Simple Man Tour July 21 with ZZ Top.
Rossington survived a plane crash in 1977,” according to the band Website.
Rossington was one of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s band members absorbed Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006 and contributed to many of the group’s iconic songs, including “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird.”
The band was formed in the summer of 1964 in Jacksonville, Florida, when teenage Rossington, Van Zant and Bob Burns met while competing on rival baseball teams, according to the band’s website. Soon, the trio was joined by guitarist Alan Collins and bassist Larry Janstrom, and the group performed under a handful of names before landing on Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1969.