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Gary Rossington dead at 71: Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist who was the last surviving original member of star-crossed Sweet Home Alabama band passes away

Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist and songwriter Gary Rossington has died at the age of 71, the band said in a Facebook post

‘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 said.

The statement continued: ‘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.’

It was not immediately clear what the musician’s cause of death was.

Gary Rossington initially met Ronnie Van Zant and Bob Burns when they were all teenagers playing baseball in Jacksonville, Florida, according to a biography on the band’s website

‘An impromptu afternoon jam session in the carport of Burns’ parents’ house inspired the trio to form a band,’ the bio continued. ‘Before long, guitarist Allen Collins and bassist Larry Junstrom were added to the mix, and the band began entertaining Jacksonville audiences – first as My Backyard, then as The Noble Five, then as The One Percent, before finally arriving on the name Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1969.’

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Rossington in 2019 became the last surviving original member of the group when Junstrom died at the age of 70 in October of 2019.

RIP: Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist and songwriter Gary Rossington has died at the age of 71, the band said in a Facebook post. Pictured in April of 2019 in Indio, California

RIP: Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist and songwriter Gary Rossington has died at the age of 71, the band said in a Facebook post. Pictured in April of 2019 in Indio, California 

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