Gary Rossington passed away at the age of 71

The guitarist and songwriter, who survived Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1977 plane crash, co-penned rock classics like Free Bird and Sweet Home Alabama

Guitarist-songwriter Gary Rossington

the last surviving member of the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd

died on Sunday March 5

at the age of 71

according to a post shared by the official

Facebook page of the band on Monday

One of the founding members of the band

Rossington survived Lynyrd Skynyrd’s tragic 1977 plane crash

He played with the band until this year

and was on board for a tour scheduled later this year

Gary is now with his Skynyrd brothers and family

in heaven and playing it pretty

like he always does

Please keep Dale

Mary, Annie and the entire Rossington

family in your prayers and respect

the family’s privacy at this difficult time

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s post on Facebook read