Lynyrd Skynyrd Guitarist Gary Rossington Passes Away

6 March 2023 | 1:47 pm | Mary Varvaris

He was 71 years old and the band's longest-serving member.

(Gary Rossington via Facebook)

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Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington has passed away, aged 71, the band shared on social media a few hours ago.

“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 two hours ago. “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.” 

This is a developing story that will be updated as more details are revealed.

In 1977, Rossington was one of 20 people who survived a plane crash near McComb, Mississippi, where three members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, including singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines, and three others, passed away (per Consequence Of Sound).

Rossington, alongside Van Zant and fellow guitarist Allen Collins, was a primary songwriter of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s biggest hits, such as Sweet Home Alabama, Simple Man, Gimme Three Steps and Free Bird.

Rossington told Rolling Stone last year about the band’s present line-up, “It’s a tribute band right now, and everybody knows it’s not the original. Everybody who comes to see us is told that during the show, and probably knows before they even get there. But people still come to hear it live.”

Lynyrd Skynyrd pay tribute to the members who are no longer with them during every concert. Rossington suffered a heart attack in 2015 and underwent emergency heart surgery in 2021. As the sole surviving original member who has now passed away, some fans believe that Rossington's death marks the end of Lynyrd Skynyrd.