Gary Rossington, Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist, dies aged 71

The guitarist survived a 1977 plane crash that killed members of the band

Gary Rossington was one of the original members of the band Lynyrd Skynyrd. AP
Powered by automated translation

Gary Rossington, the guitarist from American rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, has died aged 71.

The band posted a tribute to Rossington on their Facebook page on Sunday evening, confirming his death.

“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,” the post read.

“Gary is now with his Skynyrd brothers and family in heaven and playing it pretty, like he always does. Please keep Dale, Mary, Annie and the entire Rossington family in your prayers and respect the family’s privacy at this difficult time.”

Rossington was the longest serving original member of the Southern rock band, known for songs such as Free Bird and Sweet Home Alabama.

Lynyrd Skynyrd have had many iterations, but were originally formed in 1964 as My Backyard — the group comprised Ronnie Van Zant as lead vocalist, Rossington on guitar with Allen Collins, Larry Junstrom on bass guitar and Bob Burns on drums. They changed their name to Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1969, Junstrom was replaced by bassist Leon Wilkeson and keyboardist Billy Powell and guitarist Ed King joined the band. King left the band in 1975, and was replaced by drummer Steve Gaines the following year.

Rossington survived a 1977 plane crash, which killed six people, including Van Zant and Gaines, along with his sister Cassie Gaines, who was also a backing singer, as well as the group's road manager Dean Kilpatrick.

Scroll through images of other famous people who died in 2023 below

Updated: March 06, 2023, 5:53 AM