Classic Guitar Superstar And Original Member Of Lynyrd Skynyrd Dies At 71

Jon Callas

Gary Rossington was an original band member and guitarist in the band Lynyrd Skynyrd. In October 1977, Rossington miraculously survived a plane crash over Mississippi. The plane ran out of fuel, and multiple people on the plane died including three Lynyrd Skynyrd band members – guitarist Steve Gaines, his sister, Cassie Gaines, who also sang backup vocals for the band, and the band’s lead singer, Ronnie Van Zant.

Although Rossington survived in 1977, that didn’t mean that he would live forever. On March 6, 2023, Lynyrd Skynyrd announced the sad news that Rossington has died. A cause of death was not disclosed. He was 71 years old.

The statement from the band explains, “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 band 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.”

Ten years after the tragic plane crash, Lynyrd Skynyrd regrouped with Rossington along with new band members. In 2006, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Although a cause of death was not mentioned, fans had noticed in recent months that Rossington wasn’t performing at the band’s concerts. In response, the band explained, “Gary will come to shows for guest appearances as he is feeling well and able. He is planning to be in Plant City next month.”

In 2020 Rossington talked to Guitar.com about the tragic plane crash. He said, “The main thing is we lost our best friends – that’s the hardest part. Our motto when we started was ‘If we don’t make it we’ll die trying.’ And we made it but at a terrible cost.”

In 2022, he told Rolling Stone why he believes it was a good idea to revive the band after the crash . He explained, “Me, Allen [Collins] and Ronnie started this band with a dream of making it big, and that dream came true. They’d love it if their music was still being played when they’re gone.”

We assume the same goes for Rossington, wanting his music to be played after he’s gone.