HomeNewsGary Rossington, Lynyrd Skynyrd's Founding Member and Guitarist Dies at 71

Gary Rossington, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Founding Member and Guitarist Dies at 71

Gary Rossington who was the last surviving original member of the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd is no longer with us. The legendary guitarist passed away at the age of 71 on Sunday, March 5, 2023.

The heartbreaking news of Rossington’s demise was announced by his band on the social media platform Facebook. Continue reading further to know the cause behind the death of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s last founding member.

What was the cause behind the demise of Gary Rossington?

Rossington was one of the founding members of the iconic Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. The singer and guitarist co-wrote songs like Sweet Home Alabama. The tragic news of Gary’s death was confirmed by the band Lynyrd Skynyrd on Monday, March 6, 2023.

The band shared 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.”

They went on to say, “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.”

As of this moment, the exact cause behind the death of Gary Rossington has not been revealed by his friends and family members. The musician who played with the band until his death in 2023 was set for a tour this year.

All you need to know about Gary Rossington’s health issues from bypass surgery to heart attack

According to a report by Billboard, Rossington had been suffering from a few health issues over the last couple of years. In the year 2003, he underwent quintuple bypass surgery. Later on, in 2015, he had a heart attack.
In addition to this, the Free Bird legend had also undergone several surgeries. In 2019, the band postponed their tour dates while a heart valve was repaired in what was deemed their final tour.
During a 2019 interview with USA Today, band member Johnny Van Zant said, “Fortunately for us, people still want to hear and see us, and it’s just rolled on. We started this because of Gary’s health problems. He has a bad heart, and we wanted to let people know that ‘Hey, our time is coming to an end.”

Zant went on to say, “We wanted to do it right and I think so far we have. So we’re going to keep busy probably for another year and then see what happens next year, as long as Gary’s health is OK.”

Gary’s latest surgery saw the light of day in 2021. At that point, he even took a break from Lynyrd Skynyrd. Then, the band announced that Gary had to temporarily stop touring due to a critical health issue. In July 2021, Lynyrd Skynyrd issued a statement that stated Rossington was recovering from an emergency heart procedure.
The band wrote, “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. 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!”

Gary Rossington survived a plane crash in 1977

Yeah, you read that right. In the past, Gary Rossington cheated death when he managed to survive the 1977 plane crash that killed the other members of the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd including Ronnie Van Zant, Dean Kilpatrick, Steve Gaines, and Cassie Gaines.
At that time, the iconic band was leaving South Carolina to head to a show in Louisiana. In the year 1977, the plane in which the band was traveling ran out of fuel, due to which the pilots had to try a crash landing. The devastating crash resulted in the death of Gary’s band members.
Rossington survived the 1977 plane crash but he was badly injured with broken arms and legs along with a punctured liver and stomach. Around the same time, the band had just dropped their fifth record and was enjoying success. After the traumatic incident, the surviving members of the band went on a 10-year hiatus to recover and grapple with the deaths of their beloved friends.
During a 1980 interview with People magazine, Gary talked about the tragic incident and said, “One day we had everything, the next day there was nothing. We were on top of the world, and we were thrown down.”

Gary Rossington’s early life and music career explored

Gary Rossington was born on December 4, 1951, in Jacksonville, Florida, United States. As per New York Post, he was brought up by a single mother after his father passed away after he was born.

In 1964, Rossington met bassist Larry Junstorm and drummer Bob Burns and the trio bonded over their love for basketball and music. According to Rolling Stone, in the same year, during a Little League baseball game, Ronnie Van Zant hit a line drive into the shoulder of Burns, and that marked the start of the world-renowned band.

One afternoon, Gary, Burns, Van Zant, and guitarist Allen Collins set up their equipment at Burns’ Jacksonville home and jammed out to Rolling Stones’ song Time Is On Your Side. Later on, they decided to name their band Lynyrd Skynyrd. Rossington played with the band till the time of his death.

Gary was also a founding member of the Rossington Collins Band, along with former bandmate Allen Collins. The two of them co-founded the band in the year 1980. The band dropped two albums but disbanded in 1982 following the death of Collins’ wife, Kathy.

Then, Rossington and his wife Dale Krantz-Rossington joined hands and formed the band, The Rossington Band. The band released their debut album Returned to the Scene of the Crime in 1986. Their second album Love Your Man and their third album Take It On Faith came out in 1988 and 2016 respectively.

Rossington is survived by his wife Dale Krantz-Rossington whom he married in 1982 and the pair’s two daughters.
We send our deepest condolences to the near and dear ones of Gary Rossington during this tough time. Don’t forget to stay tuned with us for more updates from the world of showbiz.


Meenal Mehta
Hi, I am Meenal. I'm a travel enthusiast, a movie buff and a cricket fan all wrapped in one. I love to capture moments through my words. Writing is my happy space, it has been a great way of putting all my thoughts out and feel liberated.


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