Gary Rossington, Lynyrd Skynyrd Guitarist and Founding Member, Dies Aged 71

Gary Rossington, the founder and primary guitarist of the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, passed away on July 28, 2021, at 71. The band’s official social media sites acknowledged his death, stating that he died peacefully at his home in Georgia after a lengthy fight with different health concerns.

Who was Gary Robert Rossington?

Gary Robert Rossington was born in Jacksonville, Florida, on December 4, 1951. At 14, he began playing the guitar and was highly influenced by blues performers such as B.B. King and Freddie King. Rossington founded a band in the late 1960s with his boyhood buddy Ronnie Van Zant, who became the lead vocalist of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Image source- Fox News

The band was initially called My Backyard and later changed to The Noble Five before settling on Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1969. Rossington was one of the primary songwriters for the band and co-wrote many of their biggest hits, including “Free Bird” and “Sweet Home Alabama.”

Gary Rossington Cause of death

On October 20, 1977, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s touring plane crashed in a forest near Gillsburg, Mississippi, killing six band members, including Ronnie Van Zant. Also on the plane, Rossington suffered severe injuries and was one of the few survivors.

After the tragedy, Rossington took some time off from music to recover and deal with the trauma of losing his close friends and bandmates. However, he eventually returned to the music scene and continued to perform with Lynyrd Skynyrd for many years.

Legacy and Impact

Lynyrd Skynyrd is considered one of the most critical and influential Southern rock bands ever. Rossington’s contributions as a guitarist and songwriter played a significant role in the band’s success. In addition to his work with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rossington also released several solo albums and collaborated with other musicians throughout his career.

Despite his immense talent and success, Rossington faced numerous personal struggles and health issues. He suffered from heart problems and underwent multiple surgeries, including a quintuple bypass in 2003. He also struggled with addiction and underwent treatment for alcoholism and drug abuse.

In recent years, Rossington missed several Lynyrd Skynyrd shows due to health issues, and his death is a sad loss for the music world.

Tributes and Condolences

Upon the announcement of Rossington’s death, fans and fellow musicians went to social media to honour his life and legacy. Several people shared their condolences with Rossington’s family and friends and recollections of his music and performances.

Lynyrd Skynyrd also released a statement honouring Rossington and thanking fans for their support: “Gary was a kind, generous and talented man, beloved by so many. We will miss him greatly.”


Gary Rossington’s death ushers in a new era for Lynyrd Skynyrd and Southern rock. His ability and influence as a guitarist and songwriter will be recognized for centuries, and his legacy will inspire artists worldwide.

As fans and friends mourn the loss of a music legend, it is essential to remember Rossington’s contributions to the music world and celebrate his life and legacy. Rest in peace, Gary Rossington.

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