Gary Rossington a founding member and guitarist of the legendary Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd has died at the age of 71.
“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 band posted on Facebook.
“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.”
No cause of death has yet been given.
Rossington was one of the key architects behind the band’s iconic sound and style.
In the early 1970s, Rossington formed Lynyrd Skynyrd along with singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Allen Collins. The band quickly gained a following with their signature blend of blues, rock, and country music, and became one of the most popular and influential bands of the era.
Rossington was responsible for many of the band’s most memorable riffs and solos, and his fiery guitar work helped to define the Lynyrd Skynyrd sound. He was also a key collaborator with Van Zant in writing many of the band’s most enduring songs, including “Free Bird” and “Sweet Home Alabama”.
Band struck by tragedy
Despite the band’s success, Lynyrd Skynyrd was struck by tragedy in 1977 when a plane crash claimed the lives of Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, and backup singer Cassie Gaines. Rossington was one of the survivors of the crash, but suffered serious injuries that forced him to take a break from music for several years.
After recovering, Rossington continued to play and record with Lynyrd Skynyrd, and remained a key member of the band for many years, despite some health issues. He has also released several solo albums and collaborated with other musicians over the years.
Rossington’s contributions to Southern rock and to the legacy of Lynyrd Skynyrd cannot be overstated. His guitar work and songwriting helped to create some of the most enduring and beloved music of the era.
Rossington is a true legend of rock and roll, and his influence on the genre will be felt for many years to come.