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Larry Junstrom, Founding Member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Dead at 70

Founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd and longtime 38 Special bassist Larry Junstrom passed away over the weekend. He was 70 years old.

"The Big Man on the Big Bass has left us," read an Oct. 6 post on 38 Special's Facebook page. "He rocked arenas all over the world and succeeded in living his dream. He was truly one of a kind, a congenial traveling companion and a great friend to all with a humorous slant on life that always kept our spirits high - a kind man with a big heart for everyone who crossed his path. There will never be another like him. We are sending our devoted love, strength and comfort to his wife Thania and Larry's family. We will miss our friend and partner."

Junstrom co-founded Lynyrd Skynyrd (then called My Backyard) in 1964 with frontman Ronnie Van Zant, drummer Bob Burns and guitarists Gary Rossington and Allen Collins. Junstrom's duties as his high school friends' bass player eventually went to the late Leon Wilkeson in time for the group's 1973 debut album Pronounded Leh-Nerd Skin-nerd.

From 1976 to 2014, Junstrom performed with Ronnie Van Zant's brother Donnie in 38 Special. Junstrom played on all the group's studio albums to date, and a hand injury requiring surgery forced his retirement from the band. Although they're less of a household name than Skynyrd, 38 Special's classic rock standards remain ever-present and include "Hold on Loosely" and "Rockin' Into the Night."

With 38 Special, Junstrom found a different "family" of loyal fans and trusty bandmates.

"I know everyone tells you their fans are the best, but nobody is more loyal than a 38 fan," Junstrom told Swampland, as quoted by Ultimate Classic Rock. "We give 110 percent at everything we do and that shows in our ability to survive the trends in the music business."

There is no word yet on Junstrom's cause of death.

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Larry Junstrom, Founding Member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Dead at 70