Gary Rossington PIC

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The last surviving original member of Lynyrd Skynyrd is now a Free Bird. Gary Rossington, guitarist, passed away this week at 71.

His death was confirmed in a statement from the band. The statement reads, “It is with our deepest sympathy and sadness that we have to advise, that we lost our brother, friend, family member, songwriter and guitarist, Gary Rossington, today. Gary is now with his Skynyrd brothers and family in heaven and playing it pretty, like he always does.”

Lynyrd Skynyrd Social

In recent years, Rossington struggled with various heart health issues. He suffered a heart attack in October 2015. In November 2017, he went through an unspecified medical emergency. Heart surgery followed in August 2019. Rossington’s most recent publicized health issue occurred in July 2021 when he underwent emergency heart surgery.

Rossington played on all 14 Skynyrd studio albums, whose releases span from 1973-2012. He has writing credits on some of the southern rock band’s most popular tracks, including “Simple Man,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Gimme Back My Bullets” and “What’s Your Name.”

Rossington was one of 20 survivors of Skynyrd’s tragic 1977 plane crash in Mississippi. Six people died in the crash. Among the fatalities were singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist/singer Steve Gaines and backup singer Cassie Gaines.

Rossington was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 as a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Skynyrd’s induction class featured diverse acts including Black Sabbath, Blondie, Miles Davis and the Sex Pistols.