Lynyrd Skynyrd's final founding member, Gary Rossington, has passed away at the age of 71.
The guitarist helped to pen the now iconic hit, ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, which has evolved into one of the most widely recognisable country-rock anthems across the world.
Rossington appeared on each of Lynyrd Skynyrd's albums, and was still performing with the new members of the band in 2023.
Even so, Rossington had to step away from his live duties on a number of occasions due to failing health, most recently in 2021, when he underwent heart surgery.
Gary Rossington took care of the distinctive slide on Lynyrd Skynyrd's huge track, ‘Free Bird’, as well as taking more of a front-and-centre role on much-loved songs such as ‘Tuesday's Gone’.
Rossington survived the infamous plane crash of 1977, which took the life of Lynyrd Skynyrd's lead singer, Ronnie Van Zant, along with the lives of Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, Dean Kilpatrick and both pilots.
The highly regarded guitarist also inspired Lynyrd Skynyrd's track, ‘That Smell’, which was released the same year as the plane crash.
The band announced Gary Rossington's death via a statement on social media: “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.
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”.