Gary Rossington dead at 71: Lynyrd Skynyrd's last surviving original member passes away after previous health scare | The Sun

THE last surviving member of legendary American rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd has passed away after years of struggles with health issues.

Gary Rossington, the celebrated guitarist and songwriter who helped found the band in 1964, died on Sunday, a spokesperson confirmed. He was 71.

He was the last surviving original member of the band, and contributed to the writing of iconic tracks including Sweet Home Alabama.

"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 in a statement.

"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."

No details were provided about his cause of death.

The tragic announcement of his death came just a year and a half after the guitarist suffered a terrifying health scare that resulted in emergency surgery.

On July 23, 2021, the band announced that Rossington was recovering from a heart procedure.

"After this past year, the country being shut down and everything we have all been thru, The Rossington’s encouraged the band to go perform in his absence," the band wrote in a now heartbreaking statement.

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"He wants everyone to know he is doing good and expects a full recovery.

"We wish Gary a speedy recovery and we will see the Skynyrd Nation very soon!"

Luckily, Rossington recovered, and rejoined the band. He was set to play in an incoming tour with ZZ Top.

Alongside his illustrious music career, Rossington went down in history for surviving a horrific 1977 plane crash that stole the lives of four fellow bandmates, including frontman Ronnie Van Zant.

The surviving guitarist broke both of his legs, arms, ankles, and his pelvis in the devastating crash.

The group had just released their fifth studio album at the time, which went on to be a success.

However, they decided to disband and did not reunite for another decade.

"One day we had everything, the next day there was nothing. We were on top of the world, and we were thrown down," Rossington told People in 1980.

Friends and fellow rock legends have taken to social media to mourn the gone-too-soon star and remember his illustrious career.

"Gary was not only a friend, but a collaborator that wrote songs with me and played guitar with me in studio recordings and onstage so many times," said country singer Travis Tritt in a tweet after admitting he was heartbroken.

"My heart goes out to Dale and the girls."

Southern rock legend Charlie Daniels said: "The last of the Free Birds has flown home."

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"RIP Gary Rossington, God Bless the Lynyrd @Skynyrd Band."

Gary is survived by his wife Dale Krantz-Rossington and their two daughters.

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