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Gary Rossington, original Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist, dead at 71

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Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington died Sunday. He was 71. The band's representative confirmed Rossington's death with Fox News Digital. "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 said online. "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," the post said.

His cause of death has not yet been revealed.The "Free Bird" musician had an emergency heart procedure in 2019. Rossington had a history of heart issues and previously had surgery following a heart attack in 2015.

In October 1977, Gary was one of more than a dozen passengers who survived a plane crash in Mississippi that killed lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, siblings Steve Gaines and Cassie Gaines, and three others.

Rossington broke both of his legs, his arms, ankles and pelvis when the airplane ran out of fuel and crashed into a field. A decade after the incident, Gary rejoined the band when Ronnie's brother, Johnny Van Zant, reformed the group.

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