Last original Lynyrd Skynyrd member Gary Rossington dies age 71

The last surviving founding member of the American rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, guitarist Gary Rossington, passed away on Sunday, according to the group. He was 71.

The Southern rock band that is best known for the composition “Sweet Home Alabama” from 1974 was founded with Rossington as a founding member.

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“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 wrote on Facebook.

“Gary is now with his Skynyrd brothers and family in heaven and playing it pretty, like he always does,” it added.

The band did not disclose Rossington’s cause of death, but according to a tweet from the group at the time, he had a history of heart issues and had emergency heart surgery in 2021.

With drummer Bob Burns and bassist Larry Junstrom, Rossington founded the original Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1964. Rossington was born in the southern state of Florida in 1951.

He provided the distinctive slide guitar leads that made the band’s 1973 song “Free Bird,” which lasted almost ten minutes, become a classic.

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