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Lynyrd Skynyrd Guitarist Gary Rossington Suffers Heart Attack

Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images
Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images

Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington, the band’s last remaining original member, is reportedly under observation after suffering a serious heart attack Oct. 8.

The news comes courtesy of Rossington’s family, via a note posted by his daughter Mary Elizabeth at the Ronnie Van Zant fan page on Facebook. “Please keep him and us in your prayers as well as all the amazing medical staff that have saved his life several times now,” reads one passage. “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.”

As the note explains, Rossington’s been battling heart problems for some time, and one of the many challenges faced by his doctors during this latest round included adding or repairing stents inserted during previous surgeries — including the quintuple bypass he underwent back in 2003: “They went in to repair and unclog the two stents they did previously in the year which had a blood clot, 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.”

Rossington’s fans, friends and peers have already started reaching out through social media to express their support, including former Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle, who posted a quote reading, “I love you, Gary. Our band loves you. Stay strong and ‘May the force be with you.'” The members of Foghat have also tweeted their well wishes.

The band’s concert schedule remains busy, but Rossington has faced a number of recent medical woes; earlier this year, he was hospitalized with an abdominal infection, forcing the cancellation of a tour date. A pair of upcoming shows — in Terre Haute, Ind., and Mt. Pleasant, Mich. — have been put on hold for now and will be rescheduled in 2016.

Rossington, 63, has been a part of every incarnation of Lynyrd Skynyrd dating back to 1964, when he joined up with his friends Ronnie Van Zant and Allen Collins to form My Backyard in Jacksonville, Fla. He’s logged countless road miles and studio hours since, helping lead the band through tragedy and decades of assorted highs and lows along the way. Clearly, Rossington’s a fighter and a survivor — here’s hoping he’s able to make a quick and complete recovery.

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