At the age of 71, Gary Rossington, the renowned guitarist of the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, has passed away. The band officially announced Rossington’s death through their verified Facebook account. With his passing, Rossington becomes the last surviving member of the original Lynyrd Skynyrd lineup.

“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 statement said. “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.”

Gary Rossington, the last remaining founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, has announced his retirement from the band. Rossington’s decision comes after several health issues, including a recent heart surgery that forced the band to cancel their upcoming tour dates.

Rossington founded Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1964 along with singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Allen Collins. The band quickly rose to fame with their unique blend of southern rock, country, and blues, and became one of the most iconic bands of the 1970s. Rossington was responsible for some of the band’s most memorable songs, including “Free Bird,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” and “That Smell.”

In a statement released by the band, Rossington said, “I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to be a part of Lynyrd Skynyrd for over 50 years. It’s been an incredible ride, and I’m grateful for every moment of it. But it’s time for me to step back and focus on my health and my family.”

Rossington’s retirement marks the end of an era for Lynyrd Skynyrd. The band has gone through numerous lineup changes over the years and has continued to tour and record despite the tragic plane crash in 1977 that claimed the lives of Van Zant, Collins, and several other band members. Rossington’s departure leaves only one original member, drummer Rickey Medlocke, in the current lineup.

Despite the challenges the band has faced over the years, Lynyrd Skynyrd has remained one of the most popular and enduring bands in rock history. Their music has inspired generations of fans, and their influence can be heard in countless other artists and bands.

As Lynyrd Skynyrd prepares to say goodbye to one of its founding members, fans around the world are sure to be reflecting on the impact Rossington and his bandmates have had on the world of music. And while Rossington may be stepping back from the spotlight, his contributions to the band and to southern rock as a whole will continue to be celebrated for years to come.

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Gary Rossington’s Best Songs

Throughout his career, Rossington has been a prolific songwriter and guitarist, contributing some of the band’s most iconic and enduring songs. Here are some of Gary Rossington’s best songs, in no particular order.

  1. “Free Bird” “Free Bird” is perhaps the most iconic song in Lynyrd Skynyrd’s catalog, and it is certainly one of Rossington’s greatest compositions. The song is a heartfelt tribute to the idea of freedom and the desire to live life on one’s own terms. Rossington’s soaring guitar solos, along with Ronnie Van Zant’s powerful vocals, make this a timeless classic.
  2. “Sweet Home Alabama” “Sweet Home Alabama” is another one of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s most famous songs, and it’s one of Rossington’s finest moments as a songwriter. The song was written in response to Neil Young’s criticisms of the southern United States, and it has become an anthem of southern pride and identity. Rossington’s guitar work on the song is masterful, and it’s a perfect example of his ability to craft catchy, memorable riffs.
  3. “That Smell” “That Smell” is a cautionary tale about the dangers of drug abuse, and it’s one of Rossington’s most powerful and personal songs. The song was written in the aftermath of the 1977 plane crash that claimed the lives of several Lynyrd Skynyrd members, and it’s a haunting reminder of the toll that addiction and excess can take on a person’s life.
  4. “Tuesday’s Gone” “Tuesday’s Gone” is a melancholy ballad that showcases Rossington’s softer side as a songwriter. The song features some of his most beautiful guitar work, and it’s a testament to his ability to evoke powerful emotions through his music.
  5. “Gimme Three Steps” “Gimme Three Steps” is a high-energy rock song that features some of Rossington’s most electrifying guitar work. The song tells the story of a man trying to avoid a fight at a bar, and it’s a perfect example of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ability to blend storytelling with hard-hitting rock and roll.
  6. “Simple Man” “Simple Man” is a heartfelt tribute to the idea of living a simple, honest life, and it’s one of Rossington’s most enduring compositions. The song’s gentle, acoustic guitar riff is instantly recognizable, and its message of humility and grace has resonated with generations of fans.
  7. “Call Me the Breeze” “Call Me the Breeze” is a rollicking, up-tempo blues song that showcases Rossington’s versatility as a guitarist. The song features some of his most intricate and technically impressive guitar work, and it’s a perfect example of his ability to infuse Lynyrd Skynyrd’s music with a wide range of influences.
  8. “The Ballad of Curtis Loew” “The Ballad of Curtis Loew” is a touching tribute to a fictional character who represents the best of the southern United States. The song’s gentle, acoustic guitar riff is a perfect match for its wistful lyrics, and it’s a testament to Rossington’s ability to capture the essence of a character and bring him to life through his music.

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