Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Gary Rossington expected to make a full recovery after “emergency heart surgery”

Gary Rossington
(Image credit: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images for Stagecoach)

Lynyrd Skynyrd have announced that Gary Rossington is set to miss a number of upcoming tour dates as he recovers from “emergency heart surgery”.

Alabaman electric guitar star Damon Johnson has been recruited by the legendary Southern rock outfit to temporarily fill in during the next leg of shows while Rossington recovers.

Posting to social media, Lynyrd Skynyrd reported, “Our thoughts and prayers are with Gary Rossington as he recovers from emergency heart surgery. Gary is home resting and recovering with his family. 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,” they continued. “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!”

Rossington is the sole remaining member of the band’s original set-up from, with Lynyrd’s line-up currently comprising frontman Johnny Van Zant – brother of late Skynyrd singer Ronnie Van Zant – as well as Rickey Medlocke, Michael Cartellone, Mark Matejka, Peter Keys and Keith Christopher.

Lynyrd’s lead guitarist experienced similar health difficulties six years ago, which forced the band to cancel the last two shows of their 2015 tour.

In his own statement on social media, Johnson – founder of Brothers Cane, former Alice Cooper band member and touring guitarist for Thin Lizzy since 2011 – wrote, “Gary Rossington’s guitar playing consumed me from day one of discovering Skynyrd’s music in my youth.

“It was an honor to lend a hand to the band this weekend, and my family is sending buckets of healing energy [in] Gary's direction. Thank you, Skynyrd Nation.”

The Alabaman guitar man lined up alongside Lynyrd Skynyrd for two performances last week: on July 22 at Twin Cities Summer Jam in Shakopee, Minnesota, and July 23 at North Dakota State Fair.

Lynyrd Skynyrd are next slated to appear on August 9 at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, which will precede shows at Jackson County Fair, Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood and Rock the South.

For a full list of tour dates, head over to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s official website.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.