Gary Rossington, a founding member of the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, has died. He was 71.
The news of Rossington’s death was confirmed by the band in a statement posted to Facebook on Sunday evening.
“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 statement shared. “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,” the statement concluded.
No details regarding the cause of Rossington’s death have yet been released.
Rossington co-founded the band, which would eventually become known as Lynyrd Skynyrd, in the early 1960s, alongside Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins, Larry Junstrom and Bob Burns, in Jacksonville, Florida.
The band found massive success with hits like “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird,” and released five studio albums and one live album before a horrifying plane crash in 1977 killed Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines and injured many other members of the band.
Rossington was on board when the plane crashed but survived the harrowing incident.
The band was reformed in 1987 when Johnny Van Zant — Ronnie’s brother — brought together original members for a reunion tour. Rossington continued to play with Lynyrd Skynyrd up until his death.
He is survived by his wife, Dale Krantz-Rossington, and their two children.