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On March 5, 2023, the last original member of Lynyrd Skynyrd passed away. The legendary rock band announced his death on their social media pages the same day.
They wrote, “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. Gary is now with his Skynyrd brothers and family in heaven and playing it pretty, like he always does.”
Lynyrd Skynyrd formed in 1964 and was comprised of many different people throughout the years, but original members were Ronnie Van Zant, Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, Larry Junstrom, and Bob Burns. In 1977, the band was involved in a fatal plane crash that killed Ronnie, Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines, and severely injured the rest of the band. Following the crash, the band took a break until 1987 when they went on a reunion tour with Ronnie Van Zant’s brother Johnny singing lead.
Since 1987, the band has continuously performed, but their deal was, they’d only perform as long as it was okay with any of the remaining originial members. For many years, Rossington was the last living original member. A few years ago, he gave his blessing for the band to carry on for as long as they’d like.
March 12, 2023 marked Lynyrd Skynyrd’s first show since Rossington’s passing, which the band says was “one of toughest shows of our lives.”
Rossington’s spirit was felt during the entire show, but especially during “Free Bird,” “Tuesday’s Gone,” and “Saturday Night Special.”
“We felt you in the roar of the crowd as they cheered your name and stood up for most of the night,” the band wrote. “And we will forever feel you on any stage and in our hearts as Skynyrd’s music continues to move billions of people across the world. We love you brother.”
During “Free Bird,” Lynyrd Skynyrd usually pays tribute to their fallen brothers and sister with a montage of footage of them playing on the screen behind them. At this March 12th show, one more picture was added. As Johnny sings the emotional lyrics, he puts his brother’s hat on his mic and holds it up the the sky.
Take a look at some fan footage of their first concert since Rossington’s passing.
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