Ed King, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Strawberry Alarm Clock Guitarist, Dead at 68

(Image credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Ed King—guitarist for Lynyrd Skynyrd from 1972 to '75 and 1987 to '96 and the co-writer of the band's iconic hit, "Sweet Home Alabama"—has died at age 68. Though the cause of his death was not specified, King had reportedly been battling lung cancer. 

A message on King’s Facebook confirmed his death: “It is with great sorrow we announce the passing of Ed King who died at his home in Nashville, Tennessee on August 22nd, 2018. We thank his many friends and fans for their love and support of Ed during his life and career.”

Before his time with Lynyrd Skynyrd, King was a co-founder of the famed psychedelic band Strawberry Alarm Clock, best known for their 1967 hit single, "Incense and Peppermints." King first joined Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1972 as a bassist, but soon switched to guitar, cementing the three-guitar sound that would become the band's trademark.

King would go on to play on the band's first three albums—1973’s (Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd), 1974’s Second Helping and 1975’s Nuthin’ Fancy—and co-write "Sweet Home Alabama," an iconic hit that would become synonymous with the group. 

King quit the band in 1975, following a falling-out with frontman Ronnie Van Zant, though he would later re-join the group in 1987, before retiring again in 1996 due to his struggles with congestive heart failure. 

Following King’s death, Gary Rossington released a statement. “I’ve just found out about Ed’s passing and I’m shocked and saddened,” he said. “Ed was our brother, and a great songwriter and guitar player. I know he will be reunited with the rest of the boys in Rock and Roll Heaven. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

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Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.