Gary Rossington, who co-founded Lynyrd Skynyrd and was the band’s last surviving original member, passed away at the age of 71 on Sunday. The cause of his death has not been disclosed.
The band announced on Facebook with great sorrow that Gary Rossington, their fellow songwriter, guitarist, family member, friend, and brother has passed away. They wrote that Gary is now reunited with his Skynyrd brothers and family in heaven, playing his music beautifully as always. The band asked for everyone to keep the Rossington family, including Dale, Mary, and Annie, in their thoughts and prayers during this challenging time, and to respect their privacy.
According to Rolling Stone, Rossington had several close calls with death. He survived a car accident in 1976 when he crashed his Ford Torino into a tree, which inspired Lynyrd Skynyrd’s cautionary song “That Smell.” The following year, he was involved in a plane crash that killed lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, and backup singer Cassie Gaines. Rossington was able to survive the crash, but he suffered from two broken arms, a broken leg, and a punctured liver and stomach.
‘’In a 2006 interview with Rolling Stone, Rossington expressed his deep emotions about the 1977 plane crash, saying “It was a devastating thing. You can’t just talk about it really casually and not have feelings about it.”
As he aged, Rossington’s health also became a concern. In 2003, he underwent quintuple bypass surgery. He suffered a heart attack in 2015 and had to go through multiple heart surgeries after that. Most recently, he left Lynyrd Skynyrd in July 2021 to recover from another procedure. In recent concerts, Rossington was only able to perform parts of the show and sometimes had to sit out entire gigs due to his health issues.
Gary Rossington was born on December 4, 1951, in Jacksonville, Florida. After his father passed away, he was raised by his mother. Rossington met drummer Bob Burns and bassist Larry Junstrom and they formed a band, while also juggling their love of baseball.
As reported by Rolling Stone, a Little League game turned out to be the fateful moment that brought Ronnie Van Zant and his future bandmates together. During the game, Van Zant hit a line drive that struck opposing player Bob Burns in the shoulder blades. Later that day, Rossington, Burns, Van Zant, and guitarist Allen Collins gathered at Burns’ Jacksonville home to play the Rolling Stones’ “Time Is on My Side.”
What was the cause of death for Gary Rossington?
Gary Rossington, one of the founding members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, had been battling several health issues in recent years. He suffered a heart attack on October 8, 2015, which led to the cancellation of two Lynyrd Skynyrd concerts. In July 2021, Rossington underwent emergency heart surgery, which forced him to leave the band temporarily to recover. Sadly, on March 5, 2023, Rossington passed away at the age of 71. The cause of his death has not been disclosed yet. Rossington’s death marks a significant loss to the music industry and his fans.