Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Gary Rossington Has ‘Emergency Heart Surgery’
Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington is recovering after suffering a serious health scare.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Gary Rossington as he recovers from emergency heart surgery,” notes a message to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Facebook page. “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.”
Rossington is no stranger to heart problems. The rocker suffered a heart attack in 2015, which required surgery in 2016. More recently, Rossington underwent a procedure in 2019 to repair a leaky heart valve.
In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, the 69 year old musician -- and last original member of Lynyrd Skynyrd -- revealed that doctors had been urging him to retire from touring for years. “I’ve had heart attacks onstage a lot," the rocker admitted at the time.
Lynyrd Skynyrd recently returned to touring, hitting the road for their Big Wheels Keep on Turnin' tour. Despite the health woes of their guitarist, the group opted to continue playing concerts as planned.
“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,” the Facebook message explained.
During the band’s concert on July 22 at the Twin Cities Summer Jam in Shakopee, Minn., Johnny Van Zant explained the situation to the crowd (as shown in the video below). “One of our original members, Mr. Gary Rossington, had to have an emergency stent put in his heart,” the Lynyrd Skynyrd frontman revealed. “We talked it out. Gary said, ‘Go up to Minnesota. Kick some ass in my honor.”
In Rossington’s place, Damon Johnson, best known for his stints in Alice Cooper and Thin Lizzy, will be filling in with Skynyrd.
“We wish Gary a speedy recovery and we will see the Skynyrd Nation very soon,” the band’s post said in closing, before also suggesting that fans “say some prayers for the Rossington family.”