Last Surviving Founding Member Of Lynyrd Skynyrd Dead At 71

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Leena Nasir Entertainment Reporter
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Gary Rossington, the last surviving founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd died Sunday at 71.

The death of the famous guitarist and dedicated member of the iconic rock band was confirmed on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s official Facebook page on Sunday. “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,” read the tribute. “Gary is now with his Skynyrd brothers and family in heaven and playing it pretty, like he always does,” it said.

“Please keep Dale, Mary, Annie and the entire Rossington family in your prayers and respect the family’s privacy at this difficult time,” Rossington’s team wrote to Facebook.

Rossington’s cause of death was not revealed, but he had a long history of heart issues, according to Fox Digital News. The musician reportedly had an emergency heart procedure in 2019 and underwent heart surgery after a heart attack in 2015, according to Fox Digital News.

His impact on the band remains part of the legacy that the rock group leaves behind after decades worth of musical contributions. Among their many hit songs were fan-favorites “Free Bird,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Simple Man,” “That Smell…” “What’s Your Name,” “Gimme Three Steps,” and “Saturday Night Special.” (RELATED: Country Singer Kellie Pickler’s Husband Dies In Apparent Suicide At Their Home, Police Say)

Rossington brushed up against death in 1977 when he survived a plane crash in Mississippi that killed the band‘s lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, and Cassie Gaines, along with three others who were aboard the small Convair CV-240 passenger plane. The crash also claimed the lives of the band’s assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, the pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot, William Gray, according to Fox Digital News.