Lynyrd Skynyrd's Gary Rossington Under Observation After Serious Heart Attack

Lynyrd Skynyrd founding guitarist Gary Rossington reportedly suffered a serious heart attack on October 8 and has been under observation since then.

Rossington’s daughter Mary Elizabeth posted the news at the Ronnie Van Zant fan page on Facebook.

“We were very close to losing him this time and just pray that they will develop even better techniques soon to deal with heart disease,” she writes.

According to the note, the 63-year-old guitarist—the only founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd in the current lineup—has been battling heart problems for years. After this most recent heart attack, doctors have added and repaired stents inserted in previous surgeries, including during a quintuple bypass he underwent in 2003.

“They went in to repair and unclog the two stents they did previously in the year which had a blood clot,” his daughter notes, “added a third stent to one vein and in two weeks we will need to go in to do a fourth stent in one of his bypassed veins from 12 years ago.”

Former Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle sent a message of support to Rossington via social media that read: “I love you, Gary. Our band loves you. Stay strong and ‘May the force be with you.’”

Rossington was hospitalized earlier this year with an abdominal infection that forced Skynyrd to cancel a tour date. Two shows in Terre Haute, Indiana, and Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, have been cancelled due to his heart attack and will be rescheduled for 2016. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s tour schedule currently shows just two more performances for the remainder of this year.

Rossington cofounded Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1964 in Jacksonville, Florida, with his friend Ronnie Van Zant and Allen Collins, at which time they were named My Backyard. He was among the survivors of the October 1977 plane crash that killed Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, vocalist Cassie Gaines, among others.

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Christopher Scapelliti

Christopher Scapelliti is editor-in-chief of Guitar Player magazine, the world’s longest-running guitar magazine, founded in 1967. In his extensive career, he has authored in-depth interviews with such guitarists as Pete Townshend, Slash, Billy Corgan, Jack White, Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren, and audio professionals including Beatles engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott. He is the co-author of Guitar Aficionado: The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World, a founding editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine, and a former editor with Guitar WorldGuitar for the Practicing Musician and Maximum Guitar. Apart from guitars, he maintains a collection of more than 30 vintage analog synthesizers.