Lynyrd Skynyrd Guitarist Gary Rossington’s Death Cause
The guitarist for legendary Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd Gary Rossington’s death cause was partly released after he passed away at the age of 71 on March 8, 2023.
May he rest in power; we send our deepest sympathies to his family, friends, and fans.
The band shared a statement confirming the heartbreaking of the star’s death on its verified Facebook account, though it did not specify a cause of death. Beloved was the last surviving original Lynyrd Skynyrd member and had been active in the band up until his last breath.
“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 read.
It added, “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.”
He was born on Dec. 4, 1951, and formed the band with Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins, Larry Junstrom, and Bob Burns in his native Jacksonville, Fla. Originally named My Backyard, the band switched its name to Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1969 as a reference to their physical education teacher, Leonard Skinner, and to a character in the 1963 song “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh.”
The legend’s 1973 debut, Pronounced Len-‘nerd ‘Skin-‘nerd, featured future classic rock staples including “Simple Man” and “Free Bird” and set the band on a course that has to date included 14 total studio albums, 60 million units sold, and induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.
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What Was Gary Rossington’s Death Cause?
Although official sources have not shared information about Gary Rossington’s death cause at this time, some announced he lost his life because of heart disease.
Rossington overcame a number of heart-related health battles in recent years, including a quintuple bypass in 2003 and a heart attack in 2015. In the summer of 2021, he also underwent an emergency heart procedure, leading to several postponed dates on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour.
Rossington starred lead and rhythm guitar in assisting in shaping Skynyrd’s southern boogie sound. In particular, his playing on “Simple Man,” “Tuesday’s Gone,” and the slide guitar on “Free Bird,” became signature moments in rock. He additionally co-wrote iconic Skynyrd songs like “Sweet Home Alabama” and “What’s Your Name.”
He was one of 20 survivors of the Oct. 20, 1977 plane crash in Mississippi where Lynyrd Skynyrd bandmates Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, and three others died. Rossington emerged with severe injuries needing several steel rods implanted in his body.
When bassist Larry Junstrom passed away in 2019, Rossington became the last surviving original member and also the longest-serving. That title now goes to Johnny Van Zant, who took over vocals for his late brother Ronnie in 1987 when the group re-branded after a break. In that downtime, Rossington had formed the Rossington Collins Band with Allen Collins.
Intended to be Skynyrd’s final jaunt, the tour eventually morphed into a 50th-anniversary celebration, for which Rossington was advertised as being able to make special appearances. The band has dates scheduled as soon as March 12, plus a summer tour with ZZ Top, but there’s no word yet if they will be postponed or canceled. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s last album, Last of a Dyin’ Breed, was released in 2012.
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