Gary Rossington, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Last Surviving Original Member, Dead At 71

Gary Rossington, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s final surviving authentic member who additionally helped to discovered the group, died Sunday on the age of 71. No reason for loss of life was given.

“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. Please keep Dale, Mary, Annie and the entire Rossington family in your prayers and respect the family’s privacy at this difficult time.”

Rossington cheated loss of life greater than as soon as, Rolling Stone reported. He survived a automobile accident in 1976 during which he drove his Ford Torino right into a tree, inspiring the band’s cautionary track “That Smell.” A yr later, he emerged from the 1977 airplane crash that killed singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, and backing vocalist Cassie Gaines, with two damaged arms, a damaged leg, and a punctured abdomen and liver.

“It was a devastating thing,” he advised Rolling Stone in 2006. “You can’t just talk about it real casual and not have feelings about it.”

Rossington was born Dec. 4, 1951, in Jacksonville, Florida, and raised by his mom after his father died. Upon assembly drummer Bob Burns and bassist Larry Junstrom, Rossington and his new associates shaped a band, which they tried to juggle amid their love of baseball.

According to Rolling Stone, it was throughout a fateful Little League recreation, Ronnie Van Zant hit a line drive into the shoulder blades of opposing participant Bob Burns and met his future bandmates. Rossington, Burns, Van Zant, and guitarist Allen Collins gathered that afternoon at Burns’ Jacksonville dwelling to jam the Rolling Stone’s “Time Is on My Side.”

ynyrd Skynyrd (L-R Allen Collins, Billy Powell, Gary Rossington, Robert Burns, Ronnie Van Vandt, Leon Wilkeson and Ed King) pose for a portrait circa 1974.

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Adopting Lynyrd Skynyrd because the group’s title — each a reference to a equally named sports activities coach at Rossington’s highschool and to a personality within the 1963 novelty hit “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh” — the band launched their debut album (Pronounced ’Lĕh-’nérd ’Skin-’nérd) in 1973. A group of country-tinged blues-rock and Southern soul, the album included now-classics like “Tuesday’s Gone,” “Simple Man” and “Gimme Three Steps,” however it was the closing observe, the almost 10-minute “Free Bird,” that turned the group’s calling card, due in no small half to Rossington’s evocative slide taking part in on his Gibson SG.