Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington, who co-founded the band and played guitar on hits such as “Sweet Home Alabama,” has died at the age of 71.
According to a statement released by Rossington’s family, the musician passed away on Saturday, March 4. No cause of death has been given at this time.
Rossington was the last remaining original member of Lynyrd Skynyrd still playing with the band, which he co-founded in 1964 in Jacksonville, Florida. He was best known for his guitar playing on songs such as “Free Bird” and “Sweet Home Alabama,” which helped define the Southern rock sound of the 1970s.
The guitarist had a history of health problems and had previously suffered heart attacks, which led to him undergoing open-heart surgery in 2019. Following the surgery, Rossington took a break from touring with the band but returned to perform in 2020.
Fans and fellow musicians have been paying tribute to Rossington on social media, with many describing him as a “legend” and “icon” of rock music.
Lynyrd Skynyrd released a statement on their website, saying: “It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our brother, Gary Rossington. We send our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and fans worldwide.”
Rossington’s death marks the end of an era for Lynyrd Skynyrd, who are widely regarded as one of the most influential bands in rock history. Despite the loss of their co-founder and lead guitarist, the band plans to continue touring and performing in the future.