Marshall Tucker Band’s Doug Gray on Gary Rossington: ‘My Heart Is Completely Broken’
Dozens of rock and country musicians are paying tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington after learning of his death on Sunday. Marshall Tucker Band frontman Doug Gray offers a perfect summary.
"My heart is completely broken," Gray shares as part of a statement offered to Taste of Country.
Related: Lynyrd Skynyrd Guitarist Gary Rossington Dies
"This was expected but still hard to believe," he adds. "Great sadness has come upon me. He was a gentleman that held it all together. Much love to his wife, Dale, who has been by his side through the good and the bad."
May we all have a moment of prayer for Gary, Dale and the entire Lynyrd Skynyrd family. My heart is completely broken. He was King of the Hop. Marvelous players are waiting on him in heaven. May we all Ride in Peace. ~ Doug Gray & The Marshall Tucker Band and crew.
Many more who knew Rossington for 20, 30 or even 50 years took to social media to recognize the guitarist and songwriter's influence.
"I'm heartbroken," Travis Tritt writes.
"Gary was not only a friend, but a collaborator that wrote songs with me and played guitar with me in studio recordings and onstage so many times."
Talking to Rolling Stone, ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons recalled how their friendship began in 1973 when Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top shared a bill in South Carolina.
"Gary's extraordinary ability as a guitarist was nothing less than inspirational," he says. "It's an old cliché about somebody who has paid their dues to call them a 'survivor,' and it this case it is literally true. Gary was the last of the breed and will be missed."
Rossington was one of the few survivors after Lynyrd Skynyrd's plane crashed in 1977. He was the last surviving original member of a band that still tours with Johnny Van Zant at the helm.
On Facebook, Kid Rock recalled getting Rossington and the rest of Lynyrd Skynyrd's blessing to release "All Summer Long," his 2008 hit that mashed the band's "Sweet Home Alabama" up with "Werwolves of London" by Warren Zevon.
"Heck, (Skynyrd piano player) Billy Powell even agreed to play piano on it," Kid Rock writes.
In addition to being a talented guitarist, Rossington helped write many of the group's most well-known songs, including "Simple Man," "What's Your Name?" and "Sweet Home Alabama."
"My heart breaks for Dale Rossington and the entire Skynryd family today," writes rocker Peter Frampton.
In 2015, Brantley Gilbert and Lynyrd Skynyrd teamed up for an episode of CMT Crossroads that included Rossington on guitar. In recent years, the 71-year-old only dropped in on select tour dates, but he was in good form on that night.
"This man was the truth on a guitar, but I’ll never forget how genuine, humble & kind he was not to just me, but my band & my crew every time we crossed paths," Gilbert shared on Twitter.