Gary Rossington, the last living original member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, has died. He was 71 years old at the time.
The band announced the awful news on its official Facebook page. “It is with great sadness that we must inform you that we have lost our brother, friend, family member, songwriter, and guitarist, Gary Rossington, today,” the statement said.
“Gary is now in heaven with his Skynyrd brothers and family, playing it pretty, as always. Please keep Dale, Mary, Annie, and the entire Rossington family in your thoughts and prayers during this terrible time.”
There is no additional information about Rossington’s death at this time, although the great musician was known for being a survivor. He was severely injured in an aircraft crash that killed some of his bandmates in 1977, resulting in the band’s years-long hiatus.
However, a decade later, former Lynyrd Skynyrd leader Ronnie Van Zant’s brother revived the band, including Rossington and other disaster survivors.
Following the reunion, they continued to make songs and tour for decades, although the founding members, except Rossington, quit the band for various reasons. Despite having heart surgery in 2021, Rossington kept rocking until the end.
It didn’t take long for Gary Rossington’s fans and industry colleagues to pay their respects to the late musician. Many others praised him for his contributions to music.
One fan claimed that Lynyrd Skynyrd is “one of America’s three greatest rock bands ever and a Southern rock-style Led Zeppelin” and that “Gary Rossington’s influence and talent were a huge part of that.” “Gary Rossington has left,” wrote another. “One of the greatest and a pioneer of a timeless and cherished style and sound.”
While Rossington stayed with the band to the end, he admitted that hearing other people play their songs was “strange.” “The notes are the same, as are the songs. It sounds reasonable to me. It sounds exactly like our band,” he told Rolling Stone. “I look around and don’t see the original band — it’s odd. And then I notice a replacement for me, which is unusual.”
Nonetheless, he was grateful that many of their followers were enthusiastic about their music, and he hoped that their songs would continue long after all of the band members had died. “Me, Allen [Collins], and Ronnie [Van Zant] started this band with the dream of making it big, and that dream came true,” he continued. “They’d love it if their music played after they died.”