(NEXSTAR) – Gary Rossington, guitarist and songwriter for Lynyrd Skynyrd, has died, the band confirmed Sunday. He was 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,” a post on the band’s Facebook page reads. “Gary is now with his Skynyrd brothers and family in heaven and playing it pretty, like he always does.”
Additional details about his death were not provided.
Rossington had not been performing with Lynyrd Skynyrd lately. In late February, the band noted that Rossington would “come to shows for guest appearances as he is feeling well and able.”
In July 2021, Rossington underwent emergency heart surgery, the band confirmed. He had previously undergone quintuple bypass surgery in 2003 and suffered a heart attack in 2015, according to Rolling Stone.
Rossington helped form the band in the 1960s with Ronnie Van Zant and Bob Burns, who met while playing on opposing baseball teams in Jacksonville, Florida as teenagers, the band’s website explains.
Lynyrd Skynyrd disbanded for 10 years after a 1977 plane crash killed Van Zant; fellow band member Steve Gaines; Steve’s sister Cassie Gaines, who was a backup singer; road manager Dean Kilpatrick; and both pilots. Other band members, including Rossington, were seriously injured.
Rossington was the only original member still with the group. He is survived by his wife, Dale, and their daughters, Mary and Annie.
Lynyrd Skynyrd is scheduled for multiple tour stops alongside ZZ Top for “The Sharp Dressed Simple Man Tour” this year, which kicks off in July in West Palm Beach, Florida. It’s unclear if Rossington’s death will impact the tour.