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Ed King, Former Lynyrd Skynyrd Guitarist, Dies Aged 68

Ed King, the former guitarist for legendary Southern rock outfit Lynyrd Skynyrd and co-writer of their indelible hit ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ has died on 22 August.

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Lynyrd Skynyrd Ed King Press Shot
King with the band, pictured far right, Photo: MCA Records Archives

Ed King, the former guitarist for legendary Southern rock outfit Lynyrd Skynyrd and co-writer of their indelible hit ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ has died on 22 August at age 68.

His family confirmed his death, writing on Facebook, “It is with great sorrow we announce the passing of Ed King who died at his home in Nashville, Tennessee on August 22nd, 2018. We thank his many friend and fans for their love and support of Ed during his life and career”.

While the cause of King’s passing was not announced at press time, the musician had been recently battling lung cancer and had been hospitalized for the condition.

Guitarist Gary Rossington, the lone original member of the Lynyrd Skynyrd that tours today also shared his thoughts on King’s passing, writing:

“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 and Roll Heaven. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sharon and his family.”

As the lone member who didn’t hail from the South, the California native brought an outsider’s perspective to the famous Southern rock band. King started his musical career as the founding member of the psychedelic 60s band Strawberry Alarm Clock, best known for their single, ‘Incense and Peppermints’.

King initially offered to join Skynyrd after opening them for a gig in Jacksonville, Florida in 1968, but it wasn’t until 1972 that he officially joined the band, temporarily replacing bassist Leon Wilkeson before officially becoming a full-time member and giving the band its three-guitar sound.

In addition to co-writing their classic hit, he also played on the band’s first three albums: Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd (1973), Second Helping (1974) and Nuthin’ Fancy (1975).

After an argument with singer Ronnie Van Zant, King left the band in 1975, sharing details of the dust-up in the new documentary, If I Leave Here Tomorrow: A Film About Lynyrd Skynyrd that was released in March.

King was later inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006 along with the other members of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Explore our Lynyrd Skynyrd Artist Page and dig deeper into King’s musical legacy.

Format: UK English
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