Gary Rossington, Last Surviving Original Member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Dies at 71
Following the news, Artimus Pyle, who drummed for the rock band during the 1970’s, paid tribute to his late bandmate. “I’ve already gone back, looked at them, and read the entire thread between Gary and I. And I will cherish these texts for the rest of my life,” Pyle, who replaced original drummer Bob Burns in 1975, told Rolling Stone.
“When Bob, Gary and [singer] Ronnie [Van Zant] got together in Bob’s carport on the west side of Jacksonville, Florida, they put something together that went worldwide,” he continued. “Everyone will remember Gary as a road dog, trouper, songwriter, and one of the greatest guitar players that ever lived. He just loved being onstage.”
74-year-old Pyle is now the only living member of the band that was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. “As it turns out, being the last living member of Lynyrd Skynyrd is not all it’s cracked up to be,” Pyle said. “It’s painful, and I’m trying to process it and deal with it.”
No cause of death for Rossington was given, though the guitarist had been dealing with health issues over the past couple of decades and particularly since the mid-2010s, when heart ailments occasionally sidelined Rossington, and the band.
In an official statement Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote that, “It is without deepest sympathy and sadness that we have to advise, that we lost our brother, friend, family member, songwriter and guitarist, Gary Rossington today. Gary is now with his Skynyrd brothers and family in heaven and playing it pretty, like he always does. Please keep Dale, Mary and Annie and the entire Rossington family in your prayers and respect the family’s privacy at this time.”
A number of rock greats also took to Twitter to mourn the beloved musician, including Peter Frampton, Paul Rodgers, Travis Tritt, The Allman Brothers Band and more. See below.
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