Lynyrd Skynyrd lead guitarist Gary Rossington is on the mend following emergency heart surgery.
The 69-year-old, who is the last living original member, is expected to make ‘a full recovery,’ according to updated posts on the band’s Instagram and Facebook pages.
‘Our thoughts and prayers are with Gary Rossington as he recovers from emergency heart surgery,’ read the social media post, which included a clip from a recent concert without Gary.
On the mend: Lynyrd Skynyrd lead guitarist Gary Rossington is on the mend following emergency heart surgery; Gary pictured in 2019
‘Gary is home resting and recovering with his family at home. He wants everyone to know he is doing good and expects a full recovery.’
The band went on to confirm that the band will continue to go on with its live itinerary without Rossington for now.
Gary has been on hiatus from the band since they decided to resume their live show schedule following the halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Update: The 69-year-old, who is the last living original member, is expected to make ‘a full recovery,’ according to updated posts on the band’s Instagram and Facebook pages
‘After this past year, the country being shut down and everything we have all been thru, the Rossingtons encouraged the band to go perform in his absence. Music is a powerful healer! We all felt playing the shows and bringing the music to y’all was a better option than cancelling the performances.’
They went on to wish ‘Gary a speedy recovery and we will see the Skynyrd Nation very soon!’
‘Please do us a favor and say some prayers for the Rossington family and if you would like to leave him a (positive) message please do! He will look forward to reading —–them!’
Along with suffering a heart attack six years ago, Rossington has also underwent emergency heart surgery in 2016, and had a heart valve repaired in 2019, both of which forced the band to postpone tour dates.
Rocking and rolling: The updated version of Lynyrd Skynyrd has continued on with its tour dates without Rossington; the band is pictured in September 2018
The history of the band dates back to 1964, when Rossington helped form My Backyard with singer Ronnie Van Zant, Bob Burns, Allen Collins, and Larry Junstrom in their hometown of Jacksonville, Florida.
By 1969, and after several member changes, the group changed its name to Lynyrd Skynyrd and proceeded to help put the Southern rock genre on the map with such enduring and classic songs as Free Bird, Sweet Home Alabama, What’s Your Name, That Smell, Gimme Three Steps, Double Trouble and Simple Man, among many others.
But at the height of their fame in 1977, while out on tour, their chartered plane ran out of gas and crashed in Mississippi, killing lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines (Steve’s older sister), along with assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary, and co-pilot William Gray.
Tragic: Lynyrd Skynyrd was at the height of its powers in 1977 when the plane they were riding in crashing, killing lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines, and seriously injured the rest of the band; Rossington is pictured on the far right
Rossington and other band members Allen Collins, Leon Wilkeson, Billy Powell, Artimus Pyle, and Leslie Hawkins, as well as tour manager Ron Eckerman, and several road crew members all suffered serious injuries.
It would be 10 years after the tragic crash that some of the original band band reformed with Ronnie Van Zant’s younger brother Johnny Van Zant taking over on vocals.
With the exception of Rossington, all of the original members of Lynyrd Skynyrd have passed away over the years from various ailments.
Founding member: Rossington (center) helped form the original incarnation of Lynyrd Skynyrd, called My Backyard, in 1964; he is seen with Ronnie Van Zant and Allen Collin in 1977, four months before the deadly plane crash that would derail the band for a decade