Travis Tritt Mourns Death Of “Dear Friend” Gary Rossington From Lynyrd Skynyrd

They performed together several times

Gary Rossington REUTERS/Mike Segar

Travis Tritt

REUTERS/M. J. Masotti, Jr.

The music world is mourning the death of Gary Rossington, the guitarist and co-founder of the legendary Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Rossington survived the 1977 plane crash that claimed the lives of three of his bandmates: backing vocalist Cassie Gaines, guitarist Steve Gaines, and lead singer Ronnie Van Zant. He rejoined Skynyrd after the group reformed in 1987, with Ronnie’s younger brother Johnny Van Zant at the helm. Rossington was the only surviving member of the original band who was still playing with Skynyrd today. Though he had to step away from the stage a lot in more recent years due to health problems.

On Sunday (March 5), Skynyrd took to their official Facebook page to share some sad news. Rossington had passed away. He was 71 years old:

Because of their crossover appeal, the members of Skynyrd formed strong bonds with many country artists. One of their longtime friends is Travis Tritt.

Tritt performed with Rossington several times over the years. One of their best collaborations was when they joined forces to perform Skynyrd’s “Call Me the Breeze” live. So when Tritt learned that Rossington died, he was devastated.

Tritt shared a touching tribute to his “dear friend” on social media. Alongside many photos of him with Rossington, Tritt wrote:

“I just learned that my dear friend, Gary Rossington passed away today. I’m heartbroken! Gary was not only a friend, but also a collaborator that wrote songs with me and played guitar with me in studio recordings and onstage so many times.”

Tritt said his “heart and [his] deepest condolences go out to” Rossington’s family and the other members of Skynyrd.