TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Gary Rossington, songwriter, and guitarist for Lynyrd Skynyrd, has died at the age of 71, the band confirmed on their Facebook page.
“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’s Facebook page wrote. “Gary is now with his Skynyrd brothers and family in heaven and playing it pretty, like he always does.”
Details about his death were not announced.
According to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s website, Rossington helped form the rock band in the 1960s with Ronnie Van Zant and Bob Burns. Rossington had met them while playing on opposing baseball teams in Jacksonville, Florida, as teenagers.
In 2009, the Jacksonville native became the last original member to remain in the band. He also became the last surviving original member in 2019.
Following a 1977 plane crash that 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, the popular rock band disbanded for 10 years.
Other band members were also seriously injured in the crash.
Lynyrd Skynyrd is currently scheduled to perform on March 12, the final day of the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City.
The band is also set to perform several tour stops alongside ZZ Top for “The Sharp Dressed Simple Man Tour,” which kicks off in July 2023 in West Palm Beach.
It is unclear if the guitarists’ death will impact the tour.