Music

Lynyrd Skynyrd Co-Founder Gary Rossington Undergoes Emergency Heart Surgery

Amy Harris/Invision/AP

Lynyrd Skynyrd announced last Friday on social media that guitarist Gary Rossington "expects a full recovery" from his latest bout with heart problems.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Gary Rossington as he recovers from emergency heart surgery," reads the statement. "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. After this past year, the country being shut down and everything we have all been thru, The Rossington's 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. We wish Gary a speedy recovery and we will see the Skynyrd Nation very soon!"

Our thoughts and prayers are with Gary Rossington as he recovers from emergency heart surgery. Gary is home resting and...

Posted by Lynyrd Skynyrd on Friday, July 23, 2021

Alabama-based guitarist Damon Johnson, whose accolades include stints with Thin Lizzy and Alice Cooper, has been filling in for Rossington on tour.

"Gary Rossington's guitar playing consumed me from day one of discovering Skynyrd's music in my youth," Johnson shared on social media (as quoted by AL.com). "It was an honor to lend a hand to the band this weekend, and my family is sending buckets of healing energy Gary's direction. Thank you, Skynyrd Nation."

Read More: Josh Lucas Plays Young John Dutton on 'Yellowstone' and Stole Our Hearts in 'Sweet Home Alabama'

Rossington, a 69-year-old Jacksonville, Fl. native, is the last living original member of the seminal Southern rock band. He survived the 1977 plane crash that took the lives of lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray. Rossington has outlived several other brothers and sisters of the road since then, such as fellow guitarist and Rossington Collins Band namesake Allen Collins and founding Skynyrd members Bob Burns and Larry Junstrom.

Rossington's history of heart issues dates back to a heart attack in 2015. He underwent emergency heart surgery in 2016 and had a heart valve repaired in 2019. Both operations forced the band to postpone live dates.

Skynyrd pivoted from its Farewell Tour claims with the announcement of the group's ongoing slate of Big Wheels Keep on Turnin' dates.

Now Watch: Remembering Legendary Songwriter John Prine's Best Songs

recommended for you

Lynyrd Skynyrd Co-Founder Gary Rossington Undergoes Emergency Heart Surgery