HomeEntertainmentMusicGary Rossington, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Last Original Member, Dies at 71

Gary Rossington, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Last Original Member, Dies at 71

by Taylor Cunningham
Gary Rossington
(Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s last original member, guitarist and songwriter Gary Rossington, has died at the age of 71.

The band broke the heartbreaking news today on Facebook.

“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 group wrote.
“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,” it continued, “and respect the family’s privacy at this difficult time.”

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While the band did not share a cause of death, Rossington had been suffering from heart problems throughout the past 20 years, according to Rolling Stone. In 2003, he had a quintuple bypass surgery. Then in 2015, he suffered a heart attack that lead to several more surgeries.

The guitarist had to take a break from his career in 2021 to recover from his most recent procedure, and he was never able to return to the stage full-time. For many concerts, he would only perform a few songs or sit out entirely.

“I don’t get enough oxygen in my blood to keep up and keep going like normal,” he told the publication last November. “But I can still play good. It’s just the travel, It’s so hard on me, especially when you got heart trouble. It’s just really hard traveling and getting by with that stuff.”

Gary Rossington Survived a Plane Crash that Killed Three Lynyrd Skynyrd Bandmates

Gary Rossington was the last living original member of the legendary band, which formed in the early Jacksonville, FL, in the early 1960s with drummer Bob Burns, singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Allen Collins, and bassist Larry Junstrom. 

Rossington famously walked away from a 1977 plane crash that killed six people, including Van Zant and two newer Lynyrd Skynyrd bandmates, guitarist Steve Gaines, and backing vocalist Cassie Gaines.

The musician suffered two broken arms, one broken leg, and a punctured stomach and liver. However, he never fully recovered from the emotional trauma of that accident, which he revealed during a 2006 interview with Rolling Stone.

“I’ve talked about it here and there, but I don’t like to,” he admitted. “It was a devastating thing. You can’t just talk about it real casual and not have feelings about it.”

This is a developing story.