Lynyrd Skynyrd’s last surviving original founding band member and lead guitarist Gary Rossington is expected to make a full recovery after undergoing emergency heart surgery last week.

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The band released a public statement on their verified Instagram and Facebook accounts that 69-year-old Rossington was home with his family in Georgia recuperating from his surgery and is  “expecting a full recovery.”

Lead singer of the band Johnny Van Zant addressed fans about the reason for Rossington’s absence at a recent concert in Minnesota in a video on stage posted along with a statement from the band.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Gary Rossington as he recovers from emergency heart surgery. 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,” the post began.

“After this past year, the country being shut down and everything we have all been thru, The Rossington’s encouraged the band to go perform in his absence,” the post continued. “Music is a powerful healer! We all felt playing the shows and bringing the music to y’all was a better option than canceling the performances.”

The post concluded with, “We wish Gary a speedy recovery and we will see the Skynyrd Nation very soon! Please do us a favor and say some prayers for the Rossington family and if you would like to leave him a (positive) message please do! He will look forward to reading them!”

The band performed two shows last week in Minnesota and North Dakota and will continue with their rescheduled Big Wheels Keep On Turnin’ tour now August 27 through November 19.

In a statement in June from Rossington, he clarified any retirement rumors. The band expressed optimism on “[bringing] back some joy and happiness after so much turmoil this past year. We’re still standing, still keeping the music going.”

Rossington formed the band in the summer of 1964 in his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida with Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins, Bob Burns and Larry Junstrom. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee co-wrote Lynyrd Skynyrd’s most iconic songs including “Sweet Home Alabama,” “What’s Your Name” and “Simple Man.”

Rossington has had a history of heart issues and underwent emergency surgery in 2015 following a heart attack and repaired a heart valve in 2019 that postponed what was supposedly the band’s “final tour” at the time. Prior to Rossington’s heart issues, he survived the 1977 plane crash, suffering serious injuries, that killed lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and backup singer Cassie Gains.

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