Former Lynyrd Skynyrd Guitarist Ed King Dies At 68 After Battle With Cancer
Ed King, the former guitarist for Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, died in Nashville, Tennessee, on Wednesday at age 68.
According to television station WRTV, he had been battling cancer.
King was best known for co-writing Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1973 hit “Sweet Home Alabama” with bandmates Ronnie Van Zant and Gary Rossington. The band first started in Jacksonville, Florida, in the late 1960s and was named after a high school gym teacher the group’s founding members didn’t like.
A California native, King first became known for being a member of the band Strawberry Alarm Clock. While on tour with the group in 1968, he met Lynyrd Skynyrd.
King eventually joined Skynyrd in 1972 and stayed with the band for three years, although he returned to them in 1987 and played with the group again until 1996.
The guitarist had a successful heart transplant in 2011, years after he started suffering from heart failure. King was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.
Lead vocalist and founding member Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and backup singer Cassie Gaines all died in an airplane crash in 1977. This signaled the end of an era for the band. Bob Burns, the band’s original guitarist, died in April 2015 at age 64.
King co-wrote many other songs for Lynyrd Skynyrd, including “Poison Whiskey,” “Saturday Night Special,” “Swamp Music” and “Mr. Banker.”
Here are some tributes to King on social media from famous rockers including Rossington and country music legend Charlie Daniels:
I’ve just found out about Ed’s passing and I’m shocked and saddened. Ed was our brother, and a great Songwriter and Guitar player. I know he will be reunited with the rest of the boys in Rock & Roll Heaven. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sharon and his family. -Gary Rossington
— Lynyrd Skynyrd (@Skynyrd) August 23, 2018
Just got word that Ed King, former guitarist with Lynyrd Skynyrd who played so many of the classic guitar parts on their early records has passed away.
Rest in peace Ed, you left behind some great riffs Buddy
— Charlie Daniels (@CharlieDaniels) August 23, 2018
RIP original member of Lynyrd Skynyrd Ed King. I really liked meeting him making that doc about the band with @VH1 back in the day. In this 3rd pic he’s playing that great opening lick from Sweet Home Alabama. pic.twitter.com/t74YSCTqRf
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) August 23, 2018