Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington recently underwent emergency heart surgery, the band shared on social media on Friday, July 23. In a message posted alongside a video of Lynyrd Skynyrd performing, the rock band told fans that Rossington is currently at home recovering.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Gary Rossington as he recovers from emergency heart surgery," the message began. "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." The band shared that they would continue to play without Rossington as he makes his way back to full health, a decision that was encouraged by the guitarist's family.
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"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," the band wrote. "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!"
Lynyrd Skynyrd also encouraged fans to pray for Rossington and his family and to leave him a supportive message. "Please do us a favor and say some prayers for the Rossington family and if you would like to leave him a (positive) message please do!" the statement concluded. "He will look forward to reading them!"
The 69-year-old previously suffered a heart attack in October 2015 and had to undergo emergency heart surgery in 2016. He had a heart valve repaired in 2019 and told the Tampa Bay Times in 2018 that his doctors had been urging him to quit working for 15 years. "I've had heart attacks on stage a lot," he said, revealing that he takes "a battery" of nitroglycerine pills to stay alive.
Rossington is the last living founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, which he formed in 1964 with Ronnie Van Zant, Bob Burns, Allen Collins, and Larry Junstrom in their hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. Van Zant died in a plane crash in 1977, Collins died from chronic pneumonia in 1990, a complication from being paralyzed from the waist down in a 1986 car accident, Burns died in a car accident in 2015 and Junstrom died in 2019. His cause of his death has not been disclosed.